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Situated in upper central Forsyth Township, Marquette County, in the northern Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Gwinn is an unincorporated community and census-designated place.

The unincorporated community of New Swanzy is included in the southeastern corner of the Gwinn CDP, so we will include it here, as well.

New Swanzy began after the former community of Old Swanzy, about three miles to the northeast, became a ghost town. Today, New Swanzy remains a distinct community of several residential streets, a hotel, a bar, restaurants, and several commercial businesses, although the two communities have grown to almost touch one another. Gwinn and New Swanzy are connected by M-35, although the two communities have individual street grids, none of which connect.

The East Branch and the Middle Branch of the Escanaba River converge in southwest Gwinn, forming the main stem of the river. The Middle Branch of the Escanaba River forms most of the western boundaries of the Gwinn CDP, while the East Branch flows through the center of the community. M-553 forms the western boundaries of the CDP, while a tributary to the Escanaba forms much of the CDP's northern boundary, and Iron Pin Trail, County Road EX, and South Blue Lake Road, form most of its southern boundary.

Marquette is about twenty miles north of Gwinn. Other cities and villages within twenty-five miles include Negaunee, Ishpeming, and Chatham. Besides New Swanzy, other unincorporated communities within ten miles of Gwinn include Austin, Princeton, Plains, Swanzy, Little Lake, K.I. Sawyer, and Cedar Bank.

Like many communities in the Upper Peninsula, Gwinn began as an iron mining town. In 1902, the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company acquired property in the region, and began mining iron. Before long, several mines were in operation, mostly in the Austin and Princeton areas. In 1907, William G. Mather, president of Cleveland-Cliffs, determined that there was a need for a town to house the mine workers. The site of Gwinn was chosen because there were no mineral deposits there and, with the rivers and streams, it was a beautiful area.

Designed by Warren H. Manning, a prominent Boston architect, Gwinn was intended to be a model town. Construction began in 1907, and was completed by 1910. The town was named for Mather's mother, whose maiden name was Elizabeth Lucy Gwinn.

During the construction of the town, the course of the Escanaba River was altered to prevent flooding of nearby mines.

Cleveland-Cliffs founded a 15-bed hospital, and Dr. MacIntire served as its chief physician for several years. The company also built a recreational facility, known as The Clubhouse, which included a bowling alley, tennis course, skating rink, and swimming pool, as well as showers in the basement. The Gwinn Hotel was opened after construction of the town had been completed. A post office was established in Gwinn on November 19, 1908, with Winfield S. Nelson as postmaster. The Gwinn Savings Bank was opened in November of 1908. A clock tower was added to the bank building in 1914 and, although it was dismantled in 1990, it was restored in 2014.

Although Gwinn was created as a company town, the influence of the mining company waned over the years. By the 1930s, the company had no role in the operation of the town. By 1946, Cleveland-Cliffs had sold the last of its property in Gwinn.

In 2002, the sections of Gwinn that were platted during the period in which the Cleveland-Cliffs Mining Company was involved in the town's affairs were listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Although the designer's plans for the town were never fully implemented, the section of Gwinn that was platted has remained loyal to the Manning plan. Federal funding has recently paid for renovation and beautification projects within the historic district, including exterior masonry restoration of the Community Clubhouse.

The focus of this category is on the community of Gwinn, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources representing Gwinn businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, and sports and recreational facilities and programs, as well as informational sites.

Resources relating to New Swanzy may be listed here as well.


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