Our Street Signs will take you on a walk through History!
Long known for gambling and prostitution, Hurley Ignored Prohibition. Our historically lively nightlife drew the likes of Al Capone and his brother Ralph, John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and others. Ralph Capone retired to Iron County, was popular in the community and died quietly in a Hurley nursing home in 1974.
(Lotta Morgan) (Plummer Mine) (Logger) (Trapper)
Lotta Morgan ~ The Entertainment Industry ~ Over a dozen beautiful welded sculptures grace the lampposts along Silver Street. The artwork, created by Cramblit’s Welding of Ironwood, compliments the historic photos displayed on the red banners. Each depicts a prominent aspect of Hurley’s Heritage. The beautiful lady represents Silver Street’s colorful saloon history, the prohibition era and Hurley’s reputation as “THE PLACE” to go for nightlife and entertainment, which remains true even today. Lotta Morgan was a famous “dance hall beauty” who worked the “halls of Hurley” in the early days of the town’s history. In April of 1890 she “fell victim to both a pistol shot and an ax blow”, according to the coroner’s report. Lottie is buried in the Hurley cemetery under her real name, Laura Whitley. Her funeral was attended by all walks of society. Her murder remains unsolved.
Former Miner Joe Kasper poses in his old mining gear in front of the Plummer Mine Headframe, located on Hwy 77 west of Hurley. The 80 foot high headframe is the last of the steel giants that once dominated the skyline of the Penokee Iron Range. Today it is the only remaining mine headframe in Wisconsin and the focal point of an interpretive park that honors the Penokee Range iron miners and their families. Iron County's iron mining history had a unique and profound impact. "Red Gold" drew immigrants here beginning in the 1880's, to mine the iron ore needed by a growing industrial America. By the mid-1960's, iron mining ceased and Iron County turned to tourism. Today, Iron County's natural and historic resources make it an important four-season tourism destination in Wisconsin. As a Wisconsin Heritage Area, the County provides a "living" example of how the interaction of its people with its resources influenced Wisconsin's place in the national and international community.
A logger stands next to a towering virgin white pine in this turn-of-the-century photo. The 1800's brought the lumbermen, and Iron County's white pine resources provided valuable lumber needed to build homes in growing industrial cities. Railroad logging, development by timber barons like William Roddis, next moved hardwoods to waiting mills. As the timber was exhausted, lumber companies converted their land holdings to capture more revenues. Where there were lakes, resorts sprang up in the cutover, providing destinations for city vacationers. Immigrants, eager to farm their own land, settled the cutover. The Timber Industry remains a prosperous industry in Iron County still today, second only to Tourism.
Saxon Pioneer/Trapper Axel Niemi is pictured in this circa 1913 photo. Many of the area’s first settlers journeyed through Iron County on the famous Flambeau Trail. Transportation via this “woodland highway”, and later by railroad, opened up the area to new settlers and rapid growth and development. Saxon Harbor still serves as the gateway to The Flambeau Trail, where Native Americans and voyagers once landed their canoes to portage beaver pelts and trade goods between the Chippewa villages and Northwest Fur Trading Posts.