Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum, Ishpeming

The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum is a former iron mine, now a heritage museum, located on Euclid Street between Lakeshore Drive and Spruce Street in Ishpeming, Michigan. The museum, operated by "Marquette Range Iron Mining Heritage Theme Park Inc.", celebrates the history of the Marquette Iron Range. The site was designated a state of Michigan historic site in 1973 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992.HistoryThe Iron Cliffs Company was established in 1865 by a group of New Yorkers including Samuel J. Tilden. They obtained property in Marquette County and opened their first mine, the Barnum Mine, in 1867. Two shaft, the "A" and "B" were sunk. The company obtained three more mine pits by 1870. In 1877, Iron Cliffs began exploratory drilling on this site overlooking Ishpeming. Drilling uncovered iron ore, and in 1879 the company opened the Cliffs Shaft, then known as the "New Barnum". A new boiler house and engine house were built on the site in the early 1880s.In 1888, the name was changed from "New Barnum" to the "Cliffs Shaft." However, more changes were afoot: in 1891, the assets of the Iron Cliffs Company were merged with that of other iron companies in the area, including the Jackson Mine and the Cleveland Mine, to form the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, with William G. Mather as president of the merged company. A new dry was built after a disastrous fire in 1901. The original timber headframes over the A and B shafts were replaced with concrete headframes in 1919; a larger modern "C" shaft and headframe was built in 1955.
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Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum Reviews
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31 reviews
  • Educational tour of the remnants of the iron ore mine. This tour does not go underground, but does go to the inside, ground level of one of the shafts. There is an extensive tour of the buildings on t...  more »
  • Our exploration of Michigan's Upper Peninsula wouldn't be complete without seeking out the impact that mining has had on the lives of the people and the land. We went to the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum a...  more »
  • We had a good tour by a knowledgeable guide. The saved artifacts and the logical sequencing of the story comes together and starts to make sense. There are opportunities for hands on involvement and t...  more »
  • Way cooler than you might expect. Great volunteer staff!
  • This place is exceptional! Super interesting and the tour guides after funny and knowledgeable.
  • Very informative tour guides, great educational experience for families.
  • Very informative about an important industry to this area. Love the mineral displays.
  • Very interesting to see what men and women did for the work of iron mining! This mine had a great safety rating - wish all shaft mines were run this well!! Great tour - WORTH THE STOP!!!
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