Part I, Presque Isle Harbor to Eagle Mills
Photos and captions by Ed Oom
History, system map and editing by Kevin E. Musser
A Brief History
The Cleveland-Cliffs, joining with the Pittsburgh and Lake Angeline Iron Company built the Lake Superior & Ishpeming between these two points, a distance of 20 miles, in 1896. An additional 9 miles of spurs and 7 miles of leased lines made a total of 36 miles through second growth timber and rock outcroppings. The road begins at Presque Isle Harbor and ascends a constant 1.63 % grade through smooth and gentle curves. The featured point on the line is the striking high trestle over the Dead River Gorge which commands a wonderful view of the river below as well as the hills and forests which surround it. The line then crosses over US-41 and a second trestle over Morgan Creek before entering into the Yard and Engine facilities at Eagle Mills. Further south the line reaches the two mines currently served by the LS&I, the Tilden and Empire mines.
The first massive ore dock at Presque Isle was built in 1896 and extended 1,200 feet out into the harbor. It was 54 feet high and was divided into 200 pockets, each holding 160 tons. This dock proved inadequate after only 15 years of operation as the freighter on the lake increased in size and capacity. The new concrete dock was completed in 1912 and was the first of this type on Superior. It is 54 feet wide and 75 feet high and has a capacity of 50,000 tons of ore. In 1939 a 2,816 foot breakwater was completed to protect the dock and the harbor.
A rare scene today, where the old and the new reside side by side
Small steam engines were quickly replaced by larger engines and today diesels command the line pulling over 110 ore cars per train down the hill from the mines to Superior. The cars are classified in the massive West Yard to fill specific orders and are then shoved up the mile-long, 1.5 percent, approach to a 600 foot steel trestle that connects the yard to the dock.
An LS&I Consolidation
Our cybertour runs from Presque Isle Harbor where the railroad meets the lake freighters to the yard and engine facilities at Eagle Mills. All of the photos simulate what you would see if you were in the cab of the "Hill Job". The "Hill Job" ends at the Engine facilities in Eagle Mills as will our tour. Once you have completed this tour you may wish to continue your tour of the line with a trip to Empire and Tilden mines from Eagle Mills. Many, many thanks to Ed for sharing his wonderful photos for all of us to enjoy. (KEMusser)
Directions for the Cybertour
Click the red dots on the map below to view the location or if you are using an older browser you can just click on the links to the images below the map.. To make the most of the tour start at the Harbor and proceed to Eagle Mills. Use your BACK button to return to the map.
U-25C near ore dock
The Edward L. Ryerson
The Herbert C. Jackson
On the dock
Leaving West Yard
Former line to Munising
Crossing County Road 550
Milepost 61, Dead River Bridge
Dead River Bridge
Bridges over US-41
Milepost 63, meeting the Wisconsin Central
Rock cut at Bagdad
Pine Hill Scale
Morgan Creek trestle
Hill job on Morgan Creek trestle
Stopped at Eagle Mills
Entering the yard at Eagle Mills
Tilden job with loads from the mine
Pioneer Pellet Plant
Tied-up at the shops
Goodnight and thanks for visiting our tour. Please send comments here.
Looking for more on the LS&I please visit Dave Pierce's LS&I website.
Brought to you by The Copper Range Railroad and
Copper Country Historical Homepage