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Iron Ore Discoveries: Powering the American Industrial Revolution

Iron Ore Discoveries: Powering the American Industrial Revolution



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Iron ore deposits were found in many areas of the United States, but mining was centered in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio during the post-Civil War period. Iron production and the emerging steel industry developed around Pittsburgh, which enjoyed the additional advantage of nearby coal fields.Phenomenal industrial growth in the 1870s and 1880s, seriously depleted many of the known iron ore deposits. Exploratory efforts were undertaken to locate new sources.Significant discoveries were made in the Marquette Range in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and in areas surrounding Birmingham, Alabama.By far, the most significant new deposits to be located were those in northeastern Minnesota, in particular the Mesabi Range. Chicago, and later Cleveland, became major steel production sites.Large holdings in the Mesabi were owned by John D. Rockefeller, who later sold out to ^Andrew Carnegie^. The mines continued to supply high grade ore for more than 50 years, but then turned to the production of lower grade taconite.


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