Republic Michigan in the Upper
Republic is 25 miles southwest of Ishpeming and 45 miles north of Iron Mountain on Highway M-95. The Republic Mine was part of the Marquette Iron Range.
Click here for information on lodging and recreation in Republic Michigan
Republic Mine Observation Site
The village of Republic grew up around the Republic Mine which first operated from 1872 to 1926. In the late 1950's, development of the open pit and crushing concentration facilities were begun. Approximately 1.5 million tons of concentrated iron ore pellets were shipped annually, until the national economic conditions forced inactivation of the mine in 1982. The ore produced from this mine was 88% pure iron oxide.
The Republic Mine is the only open pit mine in Michigan open for free public viewing. This inactive open pit iron mine, owned by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company, provides a unique opportunity for viewing by the public. From the observation stand near the pit's edge, you gain an appreciation of the enormous magnitude of planning and effort involved in the mining of low grade, surface deposits of iron ore which supply our nation's steel mills.
The Pit is 600 feet deep, with a pit surface area of 250 acres. The total mine area is 4 square miles. When operational, the annual production was 2.7 million tons of pellets of specular hematite. The ore was transported by rail to Marquette and Escanaba and then shipped by ore boat throughout the Great Lakes area.
By 1890, the 3 Upper Peninsula Iron Ranges, Marquette, Menominee and Gogebic, were producing 7 million tons of iron ore a year and became the nation's major producer of iron ore. By the end of the century, the 3 ranges were shipping out 9 million tons per year.
The size and depth of the pit attest to the millions of tons of overburden and ore-bearing rock removed. It is hard to imagine that this gigantic hole was once a 200 foot cliff rising from the banks of the Michigamme River.
The town name of Iron City was changed to Republic by Mr Ed Breitung, the founder or the mine, in 1880. He named it Republic for "the land of the free and the home of the brave".
Photograph of ore boat Ilford Sykes by Shane Costello
Registered Copyright 1999 by Vivian Wood, the webmaster for Exploring the North, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, as Amended, this web site may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner. Unless authorized by the webmaster of Exploring the North, Inc., reproduction of any picture, web page or pages on the Exploring the North website for placement on the internet is a copyright infringement. All right, title and interest in and to the material on the web pages, the web site, in whole or in part, and in and to this url and the urls contained within, is the property of vivian wood, the webmaster for Exploring the North, Inc. Website created on an Apple G-4.