IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co. Misc. Historical Items

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Misc. history index

Waukon Iron Mine

Waukon Iron Mines, undated photo
~contributed by Aubrie Monroe (photo originally posted on FaceBook by Wm Witt)

The iron deposit north of Waukon was discovered by Charles Barnard in 1865 but he was not successful in finding anyone interested in developing a mine. Shortly after his death local businessment organized the Waukon Iron Co. and begain developing a mining operation in 1898. Due to transporting the ore to the railroad for shipment, this venture was not successful. The next owners were the Missouri Iron Co. of St. Louis, who purchased the mine in 1907. They built a railroad spur to ship the ore to Waukon and operated the plant for a short time in 1913 before it again closed. The mine was operated for a time during WWI, but never reopened after that time. Previously mined ore left at the mine site for decades, was sold and shipped in the late 1940's.

Charles Barnard (1818-1898) obituary

Bits of additional information about the Iron Mines can be found on various pages of this website. Search for "Iron Mines" in the search box on the main page of this website.

Interesting article from the Waukon Standard about the Iron Mine (opens in a new window)

Waukon Iron Mines
~contributed by Diana Diedrich

Our Waukon iron mines are again coming to the front, and Uncle Charley Barnard is happy. J.D. Sine, an Illinois insurance man, was here last week looking them over. He carried away with him a lot of the ore to have it assayed, and if it turns out as good as is expected, his partner, S.W. Tolles, of Evansville, Indiana, a practical miner, will come here immediately, finish making leases and take charge of operations. Mr. Sine has already made leases with Messrs. Barthell, Kasser and Schellsmidt conditional on the mineral turning out satisfactory. He leases the ground for two years with the privilege of more, paying the owners forty-five cents per ton for all mineral taken out that will yield forty-five per cent of iron, and agrees to begin work within ninety days.
~Allamakee Journal, Wednesday, June 1, 1887; pg 5 (Waukon columns)
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Waukon Iron Mines Sold For $200,000

The Kansas City Structural company has closed a deal whereby it becomes the owner of the Waukon iron mines. The price paid was $200,000. Already arrangements have been made for the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul railway to build a spur to the mines.

The Missouri Iron company, owning a large tract of land in this belt, has also contracted for power from the Upper Iowa Power company and an 800 horse-power turbine will be installed at one and an electric generator of 750 horse-power.
~Dubuque Times-Journal, evening edition, Monday, September 19, 1910; pg 1
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

During the past week the machinery at the iron mine has been given a test and everything so far has proven satisfactory, the electric tram car service being especially along the line of perfection. The big seventy ton steam shovel was to be given a try-out Monday, and we presume this, too, will be found O.K.
~Allamakee Journal, Wednesday, March 1, 1911; pg 3 (Waukon columns)
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb


Scene at Iron Mines, Waukon, IA
~contributed by Jan Miller


Steam Shovel, Waukon Iron mines
~contributed by Jan Miller

Removing Last Remnant of the Waukon Iron Mine Plant

Reprinted from the Waukon Democrat: The reduction plant at the Waukon iron mines and the four mile railroad track to its location north of Waukon is to be junked, according to information gained by the Democrat today. A member of the firm, E. Cohen & Sons, of Cedar Rapids, has been here and negotiated with Wm. Roach, Jefferson township farmer and financier, who has come into possession of considerable of the acreage and belongings of the Missouri Iron Mine Co. of St. Louis, for the sale of the long disused tracks and plant. the consideration between the Cohen firm and Mr. Roach has not been disclosed.

Charles Wright, Jr., a foreman in their employ, is here to take charge of the junking operations. He commenced this week employing local help to dismantle the cranes and big mechanical shovels, formerly used in unearthing the iron ore laden soil, which comprise the so-called Waukon iron mines. The machinery upon being dismantled witll be trucked into Waukon for shipment.

The railroad, built from its intersection with the Waukon branch of the C.M. St.P. & P. Co., covers a distance of over three miles and with the switches aggregate four miles of trackage. The line was built about 25 years ago at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars. This expenditure and the building of the plant and development of the mies at that time represented an outlay of over a million and a quarter dollars by the Missouri Iron Co., composed of St. Louis capitalists.

All was abandoned during the World War period, because of the increased expense of mining, treatment and transportation of the ore to the blast furnaces at East St. Louis, Ill. The ore deposits still remain to a considerable depth and of vast quantity. What its future disposition will be is a matter of conjecture.
~Postville Herald, Thursday, April 22, 1937; pg 7
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Edward Goltra Died

Edward F. Goltra, president of the Missouri Iron Company, which after 1907 invested $1,250,000 in the Waukon Iron Mines, died in St. Louis Monday at the age of 76, says the Allamakee Journal. Mr. Goltra was the instrumental factor in developing the Waukon mines and during the boom days of the project he made frequent visits here in his own luxurious railway car. Besides his high position in the Missouri Iron Co., millionaire Goltra was a director of the United States Steel Co. The mine, which was Waukon's greatest industry, ceased operation shortly after the United States entered the World War, but during the height of activity it provided employment for hundreds of local persons and caused Waukon to grow with frontier town rapidity.
~Postville Herald, April 13, 1939; pg 2
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb

Waukon Iron Mines Write New History

Another chapter in the long history of the Waukon iron mines was written this week when the first shipment of 10,000 tons of processed iron ore was shipped from Waukon to Chicago for processing.

The processed ore was purchased several years ago by a St. Louis firm at a public auction held at the mines two miles north of Waukon by the Mississippi Valley Iron company of St. Louis. The ore had not been shipped previously due to price and transportation costs considerations. the price at which the ore now is being sold to Chicago smelters has not been announced.

The 212 acres comprising the iron ore property now is owned by Patrick De Witt of Waukon, a retired South Dakota rancher who bought the entire tract a year ago for $4,360. Herds of cattle now graze on the land where an estimated $3,000,000 has been invested in iron ore ventures over the past 30 years.

In 1943 geologists from the U.S. Bureau of Mines made a five-months survey of the area and it was estimated that at least 10,000,000 tons of iron ore are contained in the deposits.

The Waukon Iron company was organized in October, 1906, with the late D.J. Murphy of Waukon as president and the first steps toward mining the ore were taken at that time. The company had a capital stock of $500,000, and a large plant with extensive equipment was set up.

High transportation costs, however, hindered the company and the property was sold to the Missouri Iron company of St. Louis which spent additional thousands of dolloars building a concentrating plant and other structures.

During 1913 a recession in the iron industry caused the plant to close, but in 1915 the mines were reopened again and a $100,000 railroad spur was laid from Waukon to the mines. Additional buildings and equipment were added.

During the First World War the plant resembled a small city and several hundred persons were employed. After the war, however, it closed down an dhas never reopened. The ore now being shipped has lain at the mine during the intervening years.
~Telegraph-Herald, Dubuque, IA, July 27, 1947; pg 2
~transcribed by S. Ferrall for Allamakee co. IAGenWeb


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