Negaunee, Michigan

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Negaunee is a city in Marquette County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 4,576 at the 2000 census. The city is located at the southwest corner of Negaunee Township. The city is home to the Michigan Iron Industry Museum. The name Negaunee comes from a Native American word nigani (Ojibwa tribe) meaning "foremost, in advance, leading," which was determined to be the closest Obijwa translation for pioneer. The neighboring town of Ishpeming, whose name means "on the summit," often interpret Ishpeming as Heaven and tell the unknowing that Negaunee means Hell. The two cities have high schools with a healthy rivalry. Within the city limits is Teal Lake.

Negaunee is home to Pioneer Days, a festival held every year the week following July 4, Heikki Lunta Winterfest, and the Negaunee Invitational Basketball Tournament which draws well known basketball players both retired, and straight out of College. Tom Izzo, a Native of the UP and coach of the MSU Spartans sends many graduated seniors to play every year.



The city was built after the discovery of the Marquette Iron Range during the early 19th century. The Jackson Mine was established in 1845 to mine the ore for shipment to iron forges; the first such forge to operate in the Lake Superior basin was set up in Negaunee during this period. In 1858, the community was given a post office. In 1865, Negaunee was incorporated as a town and in 1868 the first police force was formed. 1873 marks the year Negaunee was recognized as a city. As mining operations expanded, many immigrants helped settle the area, bringing with them rich traditions that remain today. Due to extensive underground mining roughly half the city was abandoned in the early 20th century due to risk of cave-in. The city closed its trolley system in 1927. The Jackson Mine ceased all operations within the city limits in the 1940s.

Negaunee has worked hard to regain its luster. "Caving grounds" have been reopened to the community and renamed as Old Towne. Residents can now tour Old Towne to visit the sites of historical family homes [markers have been erected] and mining artifacts can be observed. The city's population has been on a slow descent for the past eighty years; however, the Negaunee school system ranks in the top 20% of schools for the State of Michigan[3]. In recent years several new businesses have also found their way to Negaunee, including Sears, Family Video and Subway.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.7 square miles (38.0 km²), of which, 13.8 square miles (35.7 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km²) of it (6.07%) is water.


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