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The economic boom


Michigan center
Michigan center

The 1840s saw the beginning of important industries that made use of Michigan’s natural resources. The lumber industry developed in the white pine and hardwood forests of northern Michigan, and the state became a leading wood producer in the nation before the boom ended about 1910. Copper and iron ore deposits discovered in the Upper Peninsula led to creation of a mining industry. Copper prospectors flocked to the Keweenaw Peninsula beginning in 1843, while mining and smelting companies formed to exploit iron ore discovered near Negaunee in 1844.

Mining created a demand for a canal to bypass the rapids at Sault Sainte Marie, and in 1855 the state opened the Sault Sainte Marie Canals, which made it possible for ships to pass between Lake Superior and the lower lakes. The canal and locks were built on 300,000 hectares (750,000 acres) granted by Congress and were operated by the state until 1881, when control was transferred to the U.S. government. Railroads were built in the 1840s, and in 1852 a rail line linked Detroit to Chicago.

From 1835 to 1860 many immigrants arrived in Michigan, especially British, Germans, and Irish. In 1847 a Dutch group arrived and founded Holland in western Michigan. Population growth occurred mainly in farming areas of southern Michigan, but large numbers of miners from Cornwall, England, were attracted to the Upper Peninsula. In 1847 the state capital was moved from Detroit to Lansing. "Michigan" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia

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