Located in Iron County of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, the Iron County Heritage Trail is composed of a 36 mile loop connecting 14 premier sites that provide visitors the opportunity to discover the historic and recreation resources of Iron County.
Alpha: The Village of Alpha includes the historic Porter School and Alpha Museum, both in the Alpha Historic District. Several buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places. The Village of Alpha was incorporated in 1914, which also marked the opening of the K-12 Alpha Porter School. The last class to graduate from Porter School was in 1967. Several small businesses are now located in the former school, as well as a summer/fall farmer’s market that is hosted on the school grounds. As of the 2010 census, the population is 145.
Amasa: The unincorporated community of Amasa is home to renowned NBA and NCAA basketball flooring manufacturer, Connor Sports Flooring. The community began in 1910 as a Finnish iron mining and logging boom town of just over 1,000 people. Now with a population of just 283, Amasa residents are largely employed in the forest products industry. Attractions include the Amasa Historical Society Museum, which include replicas of a trapper’s cabin and old time barber shop.
Caspian: The City of Caspian’s development mirrors the expansion of the iron ore mining industry on the west side of Iron County at the turn of the century. At one time, six mines operated in the immediate area, including the Caspian from which the settlement took its name in 1913. Caspian was incorporated as a city with a commission-manager form of government in 1950. The city includes the Iron County Multi-Purpose Building/Ice Arena, Apple Blossom Walking and Biking Trail, Caspian Community Center, and an Industrial Park. Caspian is also home to the Iron County Historical Museum that hosts 25 buildings for visitors to explore.
Crystal Falls: Crystal Falls is the county seat of Iron County and was named for the falls on the Paint River. The city’s heritage includes early iron ore mining and timber exploration. The pride of downtown Crystal Falls is the 1890 Romanesque-style Iron County Courthouse, which sits on top of the hill and affords those who tour it a stunning vista of the county. The Harbour House museum is also located within the city. The city owns and operates its own hydro-electric plant and cable television system. Its industrial park is located one-half mile west of town. The local golf course overlooks the Paint River and offers 9-holes of challenging play. As of the 2010 census, the population is 1,469.
Gaastra: Gaastra is named for Douwe Gaastra, a building contractor and real estate speculator who bought the land in 1908 and platted the town. It was incorporated as a village in 1919 and as a city in 1949. As of the 2010 census, the population is 347.
Iron River: Iron River is the largest city in Iron County and is home to the Upper Peninsula Championship Rodeo, which is held in late July each year. Similar to other communities in the county, it owes its existence to the iron first mined here in 1879. In the 2000 election, the adjoining communities of Stambaugh and Mineral Hills were consolidated with Iron River, and together formed the first consolidated community in the State of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population is 3,029. The city has a new 18-hole disc golf course (The Tailings), which has already received great reviews. Ski Brule, one of the northwoods busiest ski complexes, is located just south of the city.