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      Tornado Descends on the Gogebic Range: July 29, 1909

      Newport Mine near Ironwood

      An incredibly stormy two-week period in Ironwood culminated in a vicious early morning windstorm, probably a tornado on July 29, 1909. Buildings were unroofed, windows smashed and trees uprooted throughout the city and surrounding area. The early morning storm did thousands of dollars in damage, but no deaths or serious injuries were reported.

      The heaviest losses were incurred by the Newport Mining Company. The storm descended on Newport Hill, where most of the Mineâ??s infrastructure was located. At least three buildings were unroofed, including the new â??changeâ?? house, the new power house and the â??dryâ?? house. The power plant also had its 14 inch brick walls blown in by the force of the storm. The plant sustained severe damage to the machinery as the west wall of the structure caved in. An instant, later 60 feet of the south wall imploded, bringing down the steel-trussed roof. The mine was forced to suspend underground mining operations for several days. Two hundred feet of the dry house roof blew away. Roof timbers twelve feet long were hurled several hundred feet from the site. One timber was flung through the window of the doctorâ??s office. There was so much debris piled against the little structure, it looked like â??it had been struck by a cyclone.â??

      Several workers in the buildings narrowly escaped serious injury. Two men were in the north side of the power plant when the south wall caved in; both fled the building without a scratch. In the engine house, one of the workmen said he jumped out the window as the funnel descended on the building and when he â??came to earth againâ?? he was sprawled out among the wreckage, some 250 feet from the engine house. Another man ran out the front door and claims he was picked up and carried to the company barn about 100 yards away!

      As noted above, residents of the Gogebic Range endured an incredibly stormy period that began with two consecutive daily rainfall records on July 21-22. An unprecedented 11.72 inches of rain fell on the community over the two days including an all-time record one-day rain of 6.72 inches on July 21.