Republic Michigan in the Upper Peninsula
and the Republic Mine

The Republic Mine is open for viewing.

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
Overlooking the open pit mine in Republic, just south of Munson Park.
The open pit nime is now filled with water.
A raised platform offers impressive views of the Mine property and Republic area.
Etched signs describe the mining process.

The observation stand is located only 1/2 mile off M-95. Turn east immediately south of the Michigamme River bridge (at Republic Township Beach), then right at the yield sign, then 1/4 mile to stand. A fence crosses the road here, but ends at the shoulder. The observation post is up the hill on the right side of the fence.

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.

iron mines in the upper peninsula of michigan

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". 

Lodging in the Republic Area

Moose Rapids Campground has 12 rustic grass sites (2 pull-through) by the Michigamme River, 7 miles west of Republic on River Road (County Road LG).  Sites have a fire ring, grill, and picnic tables. There are two porta-pottie s and a hand pump for water. Nice peaceful location by the river. Enjoy fishing, canoeing, kayaking, and ATVing. Donation of $5 per site recommended.  Contact the Republic Township Hall at 906-376-8827 for reservations.

New Listing: Northern Lights Campground in Republic offers 11 RV sites with water and electric service and 12 s ites with water available for tent camping. Some sites are handicap accessible. Sites have fire pits and a picnic table. Vault toilets.  RV dump station. Located on Park City Road between the Michigamme River and School Lake and near the south entranc e to the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. Daily, weekly, and monthly rates. Contact the Republic Township Hall at 906-376-8827 for reservations.
Pine Crest Northwoods, 12199 Pine Crest Lane, Republic, Michigan, 49879. Phone: 906-250-3081. Remote lakeside cottages on the Michigamme River and Juncob Lake. Pine Crest offers outstanding northern style accommodations for all, from sportsmen to families to honeymooners. Great fishing and rock collecting. On the snowmobile trail.
Historical Society and Museum
Pascoe House Museum is owned and operated by the Republic Area Historic Society, 114 Cedar Street, South Republic. Hours: 1:00 - 3:00 PM Saturday & Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Phone: Mary Lou at 906-376-2335 or LaVerne at 906-376-2258
Republic Area Historical Society, P.O. Box 201, Republic, Michigan 49879.
The Iron Ore Heritage Trail is a 48-mile, multi-use, year round trail from Republic to the east side of Marquette. The trail includes historic sites and stories of the Marquette Iron Range and our mining heritage. The western trailhead is in Republic. This trail is designed for walkers, bikers, runners, nature lovers, equestrians, cross-country skiers, snowshoers, and those interested in the history of the area. Parts of the trail will be for motorized activities.


Rock collecting in the Upper Peninsula

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Photograph of ore boat Ilford Sykes by Shane Costello

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