Michigan Copper and Iron Mining History and Politics: May 3, 2011Hurley, WI

The town of Hurley Wisconsin, now calm and dependent on tourist, was a wild and adventurous place during the peak of the Gogebic Range’s mining and lumber industry. This tranquil town used to host an enormous amount of saloons and brothels during the financially booming time of the mining and lumber era. It once was a mix of the Wild West and Las Vegas, but with fewer enforced laws. Hurley had everything to attract the workers of the area, alcoholic beverage and gentlemen’s clubs, where the entertainers would go the “extra mile”, were just some of the sinful temptations of the town. Miners and lumberjacks alike would come to Hurley to let their hair down and their wild side out, fights were a regular occurrence. Unlike its close neighbor Ironwood Michigan, who is just on the other side of the stream, Hurley was not under the reign of the strict mining or lumber bosses of Michigan. The town even carried its rough hooligan roots into the prohibition, refusing to follow the law and drawing the attention of mob boss Al Capone. With over 100 speakeasies posing as soda parlors, Hurley and its residents fought the federal government tooth and nail. Hurley has settled down since the roaring twenties. It has become an average Upper Peninsula former mining type of town, although in Wisconsin. There are still plenty of places to wet one’s whistle and a place or two has survived to frequent a gentlemen’s club. The majority of the buildings are from the end of the great mining era and the town provides plenty of reasons for a tourist to visit. - David Eggleston


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The plaque reads: “This 5.5 foot diameter drill core came from the cary Mine Shaft from a depth of 2400 feet below the surface. The shaft was drilled during the period 1942-44 from the surface to the 31st level and was later enlarged to its full size of 13*21 feet. Through the shaft men supplies and iron ore are transported between surface and ground levels.” -Heather Bartels


Class Photos 2012:
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Class Photos 2011:


This is once rumored to be a burlesque house. Notice the location of the windows in proportion to the building. This principle helped distinguish Hurley as the Las Vegas of the mining town spread. –Ashley Holloway
This is once rumored to be a burlesque house. Notice the location of the windows in proportion to the building. This principle helped distinguish Hurley as the Las Vegas of the mining town spread. –Ashley Holloway




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This is the Hurley Iron County Historical Museum at Hurley, MI built in 1893. At once the building was the Iron County Courthouse; today this aesthetic edifice is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The architectural style is quite outstanding as well as the red bricks which testify of the prosperity times when mines where the melting pots in Hurley as well.


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With a six day work week, miners and lumberjacks would come to Hurley from the surrounding area on Saturday nights to spend their money in the many saloons and brothel. Photo by Jeff Fisher

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Formerly the national bank this building has been converted into a bar called the Bank Club.-Kait Greathouse

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Although the spelling may not be too proper, Hurley Wisconsin is well known for cheese, bars and "homade wood fired cooked pizza" which was brought over from the Italian imagrants possibly the ones that were working in the mines. - Joe Fuld

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Photo by Jeff Dewaters

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Even though the reputation of Hurley was known of as a wild and loose town, there was also a strong foundation of religion. St. Mary’s Catholic Church was a gathering location for many European migrants in pursuit of their religious beliefs. - Jeff Janofski


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These signs of people are located all around Hurley on lamp posts which are little reminders of the mining town it once was and the influence that the mining culture had on Hurley. Jordan Harris