Station: Crystal Falls, MI

Train near Crystal Falls MICrystal Falls was settled as early as 1886, the settlement was not truly established until the arrival of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in Florence, Wisconsin in 1880.  Florence is just south of Iron County.  Mining was begun with ore being moved to Florence for shipping.  BY 1881, enough ore had been unearthed to warrant an extension of the C&NW from Florence, 15 miles to the south of Crystal Falls.  The first train arrived in April, 1882.  Mines in Crystal Falls employed more than 500 men at their peak.  The settlement was incorporated as a village in 1889 and was made the county seat at that time.  In 1883, a strike by miners brought a temporary suspension of activities and a year later the depressed iron market forced the closing of all mines but one.  Lumbering provided a steady means of employment during that time.  The population of Crystal Falls grew to 3,231 by the 1890 census and their were 27 saloons doing a busy trade with the clientele of miners and lumberjacks.  Electric power was installed in the town in 1891 following the building of a hydroelectric power plant and water system.  The village was incorporated as a city in 1899.  Sewers were installed in 1902.  Growth halted in the 1930's with the arrival of the Great Depression when most of the mines were closed.  The industry revived briefly during World War II, but then declined.   [Iron County Historical Society information]

Photo Info/Credit: A postcard view of a passenger train near Crystal Falls in 1911. The postcard suggests that this is a "Resort Special" which could have been on either the Chicago & Northwestern or the Milwaukee Road, both serving the area. [Dale Berry collection]. Below, a Sanborn Insurance map drawing of the C&NW turntable and engine house at Crystal Falls in 1922. [LOC]

Crystal Falls Engine House