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Quinnesec, Michigan is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Breitung Township, Dickinson County, in the southern Upper Peninsula.

Situated on the northern banks of the Menominee River, across from the city of Niagara, Wisconson, to which it is connected via the bridge along US-141, which forms the eastern boundary of the CDP. Its eastern boundary is Fumee Creek, and a portion of its northern boundary is US-2, although a portion of the CDP extends north along Quinnesec Lake Antoine Road.

Besides Niagara, eight other communities are located within ten miles of Quinnesec, although these are the only ones within a twenty-five-mile radius. These include the Michigan cities of Kingsford, Iron Mountain, and Norway, as well as the unincorporated communities of East Kingsford, Skidmore, Vulcan, and Merriman, in Michigan, and the town of Aurora, in Wisconsin.

The earliest known European-American settlement of the area was a trading post run by William and James S. Dickie, which began operation around 1871.

However, John Lane Buell, who discovered the Quinnesec Mine in 1871 and successfully developed it, is acknowledged as the community's founder. He arrived the same year as the Dickie brothers. Quinnesec is the oldest town on the Menominee Iron Range. While traveling with John "Jack" Armstrong, Buell discovered an outcropping of iron ore on a nearby bluff. After acquiring title to the land, Buell developed it into the Quinnesec Mine and Devil's Ice Box. This was to be the first of several mines in the region. The Oliver Mining Company, Corrigan, McKinney & Company, the Menominee Mining Company, and the Milwaukee Iron Company were all involved in mining operations in the area.

In 1876, Buell set up a portable sawmill and built the school that would become the forerunner of the Breitung Township School District. He also contributed land for the building of Catholic and Methodist churches. That same year, Andrew H. Surprise came to the area and built a boarding house, which he operated. Others came to the area to farm.

After taking steps to bring a railroad to the community, Buell platted a townsite. The Menominee River Railroad Company, a branch of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, opened a station in Quinnesec in 1877. As Quinnesec was at the terminal end of the line until 1880, a turntable turned the engines around for their return trip. Later, the railroad continued on to Iron Mountain. Before this time, a stagecoach connected the community with Iron Mountain and Florence, Wisconsin.

Later, the Wisconsin & Michigan Railway extended its line to Quinnesec, which was its terminus. A post office was established at the railroad depot on September 25, 1877, with Roscoe G. Brown as postmaster.

With a growing iron industry, a railroad, and a post office, the community grew. It wasn't long before Quinnesec had a population of about three thousand, and was home to a store, a hotel, an opera house, and a thriving business district.

However, when iron ore was discovered in Iron Mountain, many of Quinnesec's businesses moved to this newer source of business, and Quinnesec declined.

On May 16, 1906, a fire destroyed Quinnesec's business district and several homes, most of which were not rebuilt.

New homes were again built in Quinnesec after the Ford Motor Company opened operations in nearby Kingsford in the early 1920s. By 1920, the community's population had risen to 240, but this was followed by the 1930s depression, in which the Ford plant was closed. The only thing that saved the community from becoming a ghost town was that many former residents who had left over the years were returning to retire in Quinnesec.

In 1985, Champion Paper Company opened a paper mill along US-2 in Quinnesec. Later becoming Verso Corporation, the mill put tax dollars into the community's school district and employed more than five hundred people. The Quinnesec mill continues in operation, and is a fully-integrated paper mill that produces its own wood chips, pulp, and power.

Although Quinnesec was never incorporated, it continues as a vibrant, well-defined community of more than a thousand people, with an economy that is embraced by industry, two major US highways, the Menominee River, and an interstate bridge.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the community known as Quinnesec, Michigan. Appropriate topics for this category include online resources for any governmental entities within the CDP, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, historical resources, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.



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