The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Historian helps preserve Ironwood park, heritage


To the Editor:

About 10 years ago, I was searching for people interested in putting up informational signs at historic mine shafts and headframes in Ironwood. I found people with this same goal when the Friends of the Miners Memorial Heritage Park was formed.

As a member of this wonderful group, I give my views on signage and help preserve the rich history the mines played in the development of Ironwood and the Gogebic Range.

As the elected historian for the FMMHP, I work with people who share my interests and dedication, and we work together on achieving our goals. We have developed a network of non-motorized trails that wind their way through old mine sites and, with new informational signage, we are preserving our history and heritage and simultaneously educating our youth and the public about the locations of the mines and the importance they played in the development of this nation.

Summer and winter recreational trails are vital assets to communities around the nation. Ironwood has the chance to develop its own trails and become a destination for heritage tourism, which is one of the main reasons people travel.

After the mines closed, we were left with an unsightly and unusable section of wasteland around the mine sites. After 50 years, the vision of the FMMHP to reclaim this historical land, clean it up and gracefully turn it into a beautiful, nature-filled, scenic park is something that most cities can only dream about having. We have it right in our own back door.

The FMMHP is dedicated to preserving our rich heritage as well as honoring the hard work and sacrifice our past generations endured.

The high production of these iron mines made Ironwood one the the greatest mining boom towns in the nation and boosted the population to over 24,000 people.

The next time you walk or drive around this quaint little city, remember that it was an industrial giant.

Our iron ore fed the steel industry and helped the mass production of ships, tanks, planes, guns and ammunition, which contributed to our nation’s ability to win the World Wars. Ironwood’s iron ore gave this nation and other countries the freedoms they enjoy and the chance to live in peace. How great is that?

The MMHP will help preserve this great mining legacy and pass onto future generations a wonderful and historic recreational park.

Ivan Hellen



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