I have a unique perspective of the Allouez Ore Docks, and that’s my usual perch on the last light hoop. Find out how the docks sound when the lake freezes. What it’s like to watch a 1,000 foot ore carrier passing by in the fog. Finally, I go in detail to tell the history of this place, where boats and trains danced by the lake.
On your left you see Dock 6, retrofitted with conveyor belts, swarming with hard men and cold trains, bathed in orange light and smelling of taconite, oil, and sweat. On the right is a stripped, dark, empty, motionless chunk of steel jutting into Lake Superior, an island in so many ways. Read on to find out where the good days went.
In nineteen-oh-nine when the winds blew colder,
Nine-hundred and twenty feet long…
“Well that’s that,” I thought, looking at the torch marks on the staircase zigzagging across pillars and pipes to the deck above. Still, I made the most out of this damaged relic of Wisconsin and Michigan mining history, circling the dock over the course of three winters to collect these photos and stories.