Station: Fiborn, MI
Fiborn Quarry was created in 1904 to quarry high quality limestone. It was owned, in partnership, by the President of the Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad. The rock was shipped over a three mile long branch line to the DSS&A main line, just north of Trout Lake. The town was limited to housing for the quarry workers and support buildings like a school and general store. All of this was provided by the company. In 1909, the quarry was purchased by Algoma Steel (Sault Ste. Marie, Canada) and then closed down in the 1920's. It was reopened briefly in 1930 to provide limestone for the paving of US-2. The town was completely deserted by 1940.
Fiborn Quarry was one of the largest early 20th century quarry operations in the Upper Peninsula. The name Fiborn was coined by combining Fitch and Osborn, the last names of the two original co-owners of the quarry. The DSS&A built a 3.8 mile branch from Fiborn Junction to Fiborn Quarry in 1905 and 1906. The Algoma Steel Corporation of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario purchased the quarry in 1909 and operated it until the 1930's. They abandoned the quarry in 1935. It is now owned by the Michigan Karst Conservancy (2004). [CB/MIHX8]
The quarry operated its own standard gauge locomotives in the quarry. They used dynamite to break up the limestone deposit. A steam shovel loaded the broken limestone into ore cars that were hauled to the crusher. The crushed limestone traveled to a loading facility that could load 4 cars simultaneously. It was not unusual for 1,500 tons of crushed limestone to be loaded into 30 cars daily. The ore cars loaded with crushed limestone were hauled approximately 4 miles to the siding on the DSS&A main line at Fiborn Junction. The South Shore hauled the ore cars to Soo Junction and then east on the Sault Ste. Marie branch to the Soo. [CB/MIHX8]
The roster of railroad equipment used at the quarry included 5 locomotives (at least two were 40-ton Vulcan tank locomotives purchased before 1920, and one was a 43-ton Porter tank engine purchased used in 1920. These tank engines were used to haul limestone from the quarry pit to the crusher. At least ten different steam shovels were used over time.
The company town known as Fiborn Quarry became another ghost town when the quarry was closed in 1953. [CB/MIHX8]