Penokee Iron Range Trail - Gile Falls

Penokee Iron Range Trail - Gile Falls (HMVFL)

Location: Montreal, WI 54525 Iron County
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Country: United States of America
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N 46° 25.886', W 90° 13.572'

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Iron County Heritage Area

Mining Upside Down

The large tailing piles across the river from Gile Falls are waste rock left from its mining at the Montreal Mine #5 Shaft.

The Montreal Mine's vertical shaft extended to the depth of nearly one mile underground. Like rungs on a ladder, horizontal tunnels called "levels" projected outward from the main shaft into the iron ore body every 300 feet.

Instead on mining downward, miners used drills and dynamite to blast up into the ore body above them, creating huge underground caverns called "stopes". After each blast, the rock that fell down from the roof and walls was loaded into ore cars called "skips" and hauled up the main shaft to the surface.

Because "stope" mining used gravity to help move the rock it was considered more efficient, but it was also very dangerous. Weakened rock surfaces could collapse unexpectedly. Despite thousands of board feet of timber that shored up the tunnels, cave-ins were always a threat.

At the surface iron bearing ore was separated from waste rock and shipped via railroad to the ore docks in Ashland bound for eastern steel mills. These tailing piles are a reminder of the huge amount of rock that was mined from beneath the very ground you are standing on.

Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, October 3rd, 2014 at 6:56am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)15T E 713102 N 5145723
Decimal Degrees46.43143333, -90.22620000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 46° 25.886', W 90° 13.572'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds46° 25' 53.16" N, 90° 13' 34.32" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)715
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 825 Mellon St, Montreal WI 54525, US
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