Elk Rapids Iron Company
The brick ruin near this marker was the hearth of the Elk Rapid furnace, during the 1870s one of the nation's greatest producers of charcoal iron. Forty-seven feet high and twelve feet in diameter, it was begun in 1872 and produced the first blast of iron on June 24, 1873. The local logging firm of Dexter and Noble constructed the furnace, locating it in Elk Rapids to utilize the vast stands of hardwood timber which surrounded the town. The hardwood was converted to charcoal to fire the furnace, and iron ore was imported form the Upper Peninsula by freighter. Once the town's major employer, the furnace closed during World War I when the nearby forests were depleted, and cheaper smelting processes were developed.