Iron ore was first discovered in the Upper Peninsula in the Marquette Iron Range in 1844 by William Austin Burt, the United States deputy surveyor. He was the inventor of the solar compass which led him to locating the iron ore deposits due to┬áthe odd fluctuations in the compass needle. From that time until 1860, only three mines opened in the Upper Peninsula. During the Civil War, demand for iron ore skyrocketed, sending many people to this potentially prosperous “frontier”. After this, the number of iron mines in the area continued to increase well into the early 1900s. The next four maps show the progression of the expansion of iron mines in the Upper Peninsula from before the Civil war up until 1880.

Pictured above is William A. Burt (37)

Above is a solar compass, invented by Burt, that led him to discovering the iron ore deposits in the Marquette Range. (38)