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Houghton in Houghton County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Industry

Historic Houghton

 
 
Industry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 1, 2017
1. Industry Marker
Inscription.  Houghton wasn't merely a port for the pass-through of raw materials and wholesale goods. Throughout its history, the city's central waterfront location was attractive to manufacturing and industrial operations. As with the larger Keweenaw Peninsula, much of Houghton's industry related to the production of copper.

The city's position in the local copper industry improved with the development of the Copper Range Company mines south of Houghton in the late 1890s. Flat land along Houghton's western waterfront provided a perfect location for the company's railroad and dock facilities. Although its primary business focused on the shipment of copper ores and concentrates, the Copper Range Railroad also operated a successful public passenger service. The company's passenger depot included deep eaves to protect passengers from inclement weather. These docks witnessed the transfer of millions of pounds of copper ingot produced at the company's nearby smelting works.

Several ancillary industries supported the vibrant copper industry. The Carroll foundry operated on the city's eastern waterfront, producing cast iron and brass fixtures, as well
Marker detail: Copper Range Roundhouse & Dock, c.1900 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Copper Range Roundhouse & Dock, c.1900
Copper Range roundhouse (foreground)
Copper Range dock (background)
as engines, pumps, and other types of machinery. Adjacent to it, the Pryor Lumber yards produced construction-grade lumber and larger timber supports for the area's underground mines. Other service industries included the Croze dry dock, which repaired and constructed lake vessels, and the Portage Lake Mining Gazette that produced the city's first newspaper and provided other binding and printing work for area businesses.

The Peninsula Electric Light and Power Company completed construction of an impressive new power generation plant in 1890, confirming Houghton's leading role in the development of regional utility industries. The city welcomed the area's first telegraph wires in 1866 and James Dee introduced the first commercial telephone lines in 1878.

Houghton's factories produced everything from wagons and harnesses to soap and cigars. There was also a wide range of consumable foods and beverages: the Haas Brewing Company once graced Shelden Avenue, while the Armour meat factory created a variety of sausages and meat products. Desserts were provided by the city's fine collection of bakers, confectioners and candy makers.

These industrial operations required a steady work force and Houghton soon developed a large and varied pool of laborers. In turn, the industrial work force required adequate housing and support, thereby encouraging more service and consumer
Marker detail: Loading copper ingots at Copper Range dock, 1920 image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Loading copper ingots at Copper Range dock, 1920
manufacturing industries. Although the decline of Michigan copper mining ultimately undercut intensive manufacturing and its related industries, Houghton continues to attract smaller-scale businesses which utilize a skilled local work force.
 
Erected by Michigan Coastal Management Program, MDEQ.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars.
 
Location. 47° 7.328′ N, 88° 34.57′ W. Marker is in Houghton, Michigan, in Houghton County. Marker is on West Lakeshore Drive 0.2 miles west of Quincy Street, on the right when traveling west. Marker is located along the Houghton City Boat Launch boardwalk. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Houghton MI 49931, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Copper Range Railroad Depot 1899 (within shouting distance of this marker); Growth and Change (approx. 0.2 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church (approx. ¼ mile away); The First Finnish Newspaper in America (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hotels and Saloons (approx. 0.4 miles away); Clubs and Associations (approx. half a mile away); 321 Quincy Street (approx. half a mile away); Historic Houghton (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Houghton.
 
Related markers. Click here
Marker detail: The Mining Gazette, 1889 image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: The Mining Gazette, 1889
for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Historic Houghton Walking Tour
 
Also see . . .  Houghton, Michigan (Wikipedia). Houghton gained in importance as a port with the opening of the Keweenaw Waterway in 1873, the waterway being the cumulative dredging and extension of the Portage Lake, Portage Shipping Canal and Lily Pond so as to isolate the northern part of the Keweenaw Peninsula into Copper Island. By 1880 Houghton had become "a burgeoning city" and in 1883, the railroad was extended from Marquette. (Submitted on August 2, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Croze Dry Dock, 1923 image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: Croze Dry Dock, 1923
Industry Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 1, 2017
6. Industry Marker
(Houghton-Hancock Bridge in background)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 1, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 6 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on August 1, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 2, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Mar. 2, 2021