The first of the immensely rich Lake Superior iron ore deposits to be discovered and mined were those of the Marquette Iron Range. In 1844, William A. Burt
and his surveying party discovered outcroppings of iron ore south of Teal Lake. This area soon became the first and remained the chief center of the range's mining. In 1847, real production was underway at the Jackson Mine.
Operations at the early mines were confined to ores at or close to the surface. Underground mining began after the Civil War when shafts were sunk. A forge built on the Carp River produced iron blooms in 1848. The Pioneer Furnace in Negaunee, built in 1857-58 was the first actual blast furnace. Most ore has been shipped out to be smelted. When the Iron Mountain Railroad was built in 1857 ore could be moved easily to Marquette. Here at the docks, the first of which was built in 1857, the ore was load aboard ships and carried through the Soo Canal to the growing industrial centers in the East. Copper, gold, silver and lead have been mined here but in small amounts only, leaving iron supreme.