« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
of Lake Superior, and equipping it, in order to transport the product of the mines to market, and the construction of sufficient dock and harbor facilities for vessels to receive it at the water's edge. Many experienced business ‘men, consulted in regard to the enterprise, drew back from an undertaking fraught with so many and so great dangers. But Mr. Tower's courage was supported by his judgment derived from careful and systematic investigation, and he determined, at the age of seventy-three, to carry out his purpose single-handed. After having acquired title to the lands which contained the ore deposits, and also to a body of land lying upon Lake Superior, known then as Burlington Bay and Agate Bay, which he afterwards called Two Harbors, he formed in 1883 two companies, the “Minnesota Iron Company" and the “ Duluth and Iron Range Railroad Company,” the former of which owned the latter. He built the railroad from the mines at Lake Vermilion to Two Harbors, on Lake Superior, seventy miles; erected large docks, round-houses, machine-shops and sawmills, and provided equipment for the transportation of the ore; besides carrying along the development of the mines in order that their product might be ready for shipment at the completion of the railroad. The iron ore lay in veins, tilted into a position almost vertical, extending for more than a mile in a north-easterly and south-westerly direction, and varying in thickness from forty to one hundred and fifty feet. The ore was a hard specular hematite, yielding by analysis sixty-eight per cent. of metallic iron and from thirty-thousandths to fifty-thousandths of phosphorus, free from sulphur and all refractory substance.
Mr. Tower carried along this enterprise with vigor and determination until August, 1884, when the railroad was completed and put into operation, and the first shipments of ore were made from Two Harbors to Cleveland. These shipments met with great favor after having been largely distributed among the iron and steel manufacturers of Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, and almost from its departure, Mr. Tower's enterprise was proved to be successful. The country opened very rapidly, and soon after a considerable town, called Tower, grew up on the shore of Lake Vermilion, and another at Two Harbors; whilst along the line of the railroad, lumbering interests, the quarrying of granite, and various industries sprang up with the increase of population. In 1886 the railroad line was constructed along the shore of Lake Superior, twenty-seven miles, to Duluth. The annual shipments of ore from the mines at Tower, which in 1884, at the opening of the railroad, were sixty-eight thousand tons, increased in 1885 to two hundred and twenty-five thousand tons, in 1886 to three hundred thousand tons, and in 1887 to four hundred thousand tons. This industry, planted by the energy and courage of a single man in a remote and difficult country, placed the State of Minnesota, hitherto unknown as a mineral-producing district, in the space of four years among the foremost iron markets of the United States, employed fifteen hundred men in its mines, and gave support, directly and indirectly, to more than five thousand people. It is not too much to say that this was one of the most remarkable developments ever made in the United States. Its value to Minnesota, and indeed to the whole country of the North-west, in the benefits that are likely to be derived from it, are almost incalculable. Mr. Tower in it erected a proud monument to himself as a man and a benefactor of his fellow-man that will endure and grow greater as time goes on.
In the year 1887 it was found that valuable deposits of iron ore existed throughout a long stretch of country lying to the east and north-east of the Minnesota Iron Company's property at Tower. These were explored after the opening of the railroad and they had been acquired by various individual owners and companies, who were ready to open new mines upon the extension to them of the railroad by which they might reach a market with their product. Mr. Tower concluded that, having carried out success
fully his own undertaking, he did not wish singly to build the road to an unlimited extent in order to supply the demands that naturally arose as the country was more fully explored; neither did he wish to separate his railroad from the mines at Tower by transferring its ownership from the Minnesota Iron Company. He therefore concluded to make a combination with a syndicate formed in New York and Chicago, which already had large interests to the east of him.
These gentlemen bought from him his entire property in May, 1887, which he then transferred to them, retaining, however, an interest considerably smaller than his former holding, in the new organization which they formed, called “ The Minnesota Mining and Railroad Syndicate.” This arrangement was highly advantageous in a financial sense to Mr. Tower, who now had the gratification of having proved the wisdom of his foresight and of having seen his great undertaking carried through to an eminently successful issue, and in a very short time. He retained the Presidency of the Minnesota Iron Company, at the request of the syndicate, until October, 1887, when he resigned his office. Whereupon the Board of Directors, composed of the new owners, passed the following resolution, which they had handsomely engrossed and sent to him.
Resolved, That in thus severing, at his request, the active connection of Mr. Tower with the Company, we desire to place upon the permanent records of the organization our high appreciation of the great service he has performed in developing and rendering successful the enterprise. Mr. Tower came to its support in its infancy, and has been, from the beginning, its promoter and ruling spirit, giving to it always, unselfishly, the benefit of his ripe judgment and business experience, as well as unlimited aid from his own financial resources. During all the years of his connection with it, including years of general financial distress and anxiety, he has never faltered, and the full measure of prosperity which the Company now enjoys is largely due to his personal efforts, and is a sufficient tribute at once to his business capacity and his patient courage. We exceedingly regret that Mr. Tower feels compelled to retire from the service of the Company, but beg to assure him that he carries with him the gratitude and best wishes of the Board and of all interested in the property.
Mr. Tower was a man of cultivated tastes, a lover of books, particularly of those relating to the history of America. He was one of the first to recognize the importance of the comparative study of American colonial law. His unrivalled collection on this subject was begun nearly forty years ago, and was latterly supplemented with many rare and costly works belonging to the general field of Americana. He was a member of the Board of Overseers of Harvard University from 1884 until his death. He died at his summer residence in Waterville, Oneida County, New York, on the 24th of July, 1889, in the eighty-first year of his age.
Mr. Tower's life was one of integrity, patient labor, and of great good to others with whom he has lived. His influence extended very widely throughout the United States. As a citizen, in peace and in war, and as a professional man, in business and in private life, his career made him one of the remarkable men of his country and of his time.