Iron Mountain is in the center of the Menominee Iron Range. The range's most productive mines—the Chapin, the Pewabic, and the Millie—were located here. The Chapin Mine was the largest producer, yielding 27 million tons of iron ore from 1880 until 1934. From the 1870s through World War II, however, lumbering was also an important industry. An interesting outgrowth was Ford Motor Company's plant in Kingsford, where Henry Ford manufactured wooden components for his automobiles.
Since Iron Mountain is near the Menominee River and several lakes, the availability of waterpower aided the city's development, and it was incorporated as a city in 1890. Also serving the city were two major railroads, the Chicago and North Western and the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul. Iron Mountain became the center of commerce and distribution for the range and possesses the Menominee Iron Range's largest commercial district. Since established in 2006, the Iron Mountain Main Street Program is committed to making downtown a thriving and vibrant cultural and business center.
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