There are literally hundreds of historical buildings in Iron County. No matter what community you stop in you are bound to find a handful of them listed on the National Register Of Historic Places. These buildings range from homes to business and quite a few are still in use. Here a a few select ones that simply are “must see” buildings when you make a visit to Iron County, Michigan.
Caspian is home to the Iron County Historical Museum. This is a cluster of historical buildings including the main one which is a former Engine House that was part of the Caspian Mine. Over 100 exhibits exist inside this building and more exist in the park around it. There are a total of twenty-two buildings here ranging from 1890 structures (a stager depot and log barns) to 1921 era mining head frame and logging camp remains. Here you will find a cultural center, a wildlife art gallery, heritage hall, and mining halls. The museum covers everything that the state has been through from pioneer to Victorian.
In Iron River there is the 1913 Chicago, Milwaukee and Saint Paul Railway Iron River Depot. This modified Neoclassical brick building served rail passengers until 1945 and bus passengers until 1956. Although originally constructed to serve the iron and timber industry, the rail line and depot survived because it was used for other things after the rail service stopped. Between 1956 and 1993 it was a produce warehouse and an equipment store. Now it is railroad themed restaurant and bakery.
Crystal Falls has a number of buildings used for different purposes that are considered important. One of these is Harour House which currently is a hands on museum. This museum presents a number of activities hosted in a 1900 era Victorian styled building. The house is cement blocks and in the locally known “steamboat” style. Several floors are open to the public, the first floor is a Victorian home complete with a 1880’s dated newspaper collection, a Victorian kitchen, dining room, and parlor. Upper floors include a Veterans Room, ad mining and logging room, and antique toy room, a woman’s room, a sport and leisure room, and an Ojibwe Indian room.
Another important building is the oldest hydro-power plant still active in the region. The Crystal Falls Dam and Power Plant currently supplies a third of the energy used by Crystal Falls and 1891. In 1983 it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built on the Paint river, this two story hipped roof brick and sandstone building is run by the city itself. The building is 30 by 60 feet while the dam is 75 long and 15 feet high.
While in Crystal Falls check out the Iron County Courthouse, dating to 1890. An imposing castle like building in Romanesque revival style, featuring high pitched roof, high windows, deep arched doors and plenty of exterior details. Note that the 4 side clock tower was constructed later. No trip to Iron County is complete without seeing this building.