New life for the Carp River Kiln in Marquette

Carp River Kiln (Marquette, Michigan)

MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) — In 2016, the Carp River Kiln in the city of Marquette, a historic part of the city’s past, crumbled to the ground. But the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority has given this piece of old history new life.

Monday afternoon, the Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority turned the keys over to the city of Marquette as they revealed the finalization of the Carp River Kiln.

“On this property used to be the Carp River Furnace, so it was a big place where they made pig iron back in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s,” said Carol Fulscher, Administrator, Iron Ore Heritage Recreation Authority.

“It’s a big part of the iron mining story. We used to make pig iron first before we just shipped out the raw oil, so we wanted to take the kiln that collapsed and resurrect it.”

In 2018, Carol and her team received permission by the Marquette Planning Commission to begin the stages of recreating the kiln.

They hoped to have the project completed by last year, Carol said there were a few road bumps along the way.

“We had an early winter, we were short on some stones, and then we had a pandemic.”

But now, this locally designed and constructed structure will act as a welcoming landmark for those who come to enjoy the City of Marquette.

“I think a lot of people come into the area and have these questions, like why do you look the way you do? You’re in the middle of this forested region and then we have this little city in this forest, so I think that’s one of it and I think every community has a story to tell and they should tell it.”

And it’s a story that seems hard to believe when driving into town.

“There used to be 44 kilns on this property, plus a big furnace, plus railroads, a dam on the river,” said Fulscher.

“It was a big industrial area and we just wanted to make a node now on the Iron Ore Heritage Trail to say here’s what used to happen in this community, here’s why we look the way we do. This is our story.”

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