History of Negaunee

The City of Negaunee is a safe, friendly community with award-winning schools, first-rate medical clinics, unique shopping and dining experiences and abundant entertainment and recreational opportunities.

Enjoy live performances at our historic Vista Theatre. Travel back in time at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and the Negaunee Historical Museum. Marvel at the fireworks over beautiful Teal Lake during the mid-winter Heikki Lunta Winterfest and mid-summer Pioneer Days. Embrace the outdoors throughout the seasons with swimming, boating, windsurfing, fishing, skiing, luging, and ice skating. Join with visitors from across the nation, and the world, to watch the thrilling international ski jumping competition at Suicide Hill and Lucy Run; the fast-paced start of the annual Ore to Shore Mountain Bike Epic; and the action-packed Negaunee Invitational Basketball Tournament.


The discovery of iron ore by an exploratory mining party near the shore of Teal Lake in 1844 launched the birth of the City of Negaunee. Native Americans who had long resided in and traversed the area led the explorers to the massive outcropping of ore. Their heritage lives on in the name of Negaunee, which means “pioneer” in Chippewa.

The Jackson Mine was established in 1845 in Negaunee to mine the iron ore which would be shipped to steel making plants. The first iron forge in the Lake Superior region was established soon after in Negaunee as well.

The community grew. In 1858, Negaunee 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.