Northern Pacific Ore Dock
Superior, WI

Northern Pacific¬†Railroad commissioned an ore dock to be building in Superior in 1912 to compete with Great Northern’s docks at Allouez.

The dock had 102 ore pockets and stood 80 feet over the surface of Lake Superior, high enough to let gravity pull the ore from the pockets down chutes and into the holes of lakers below. In 1917 the dock was extended further into the bay to allow more ships to load simultaneously. A third addition was added in 1925, bringing the total length to just under 1,900 feet with 300 pockets.

N.P.R.R. was merged into Burlington Northern in 1970, along with Great Northern. Allouez’ location in the harbor and superior rail yard connection made it the obvious focus of operations, and the former Northern Pacific dock was retired. It was used as boat storage for years, surviving the demolition of much of its approach trestle. In the mid-2000s, the remains of the approach track was scrapped along with almost all exposed steel. Now the dock serves as the centerpiece of a small marina, Loon’s Food Landing.

Before it was demolished, there was one good staircase the led to the middle of the dock. Trees grew from it.
The holes were for men to poke reluctant ore with long poles, with the hope that a lucky jab would let the load slide down into the boat below. Now they’re just traps.
Just a couple guys enjoying an industrial ruin.
A warning sticker on the interior of a dredge once tied to the old dock.
What looks to be a skip for repairing the dock, in the concrete steeple.
The underside of the ore dock in winter. Snow drifts across the dock from the frozen lake.