mining in the area surrounding Gwinn began in 1872. The
Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Mining Company (C.C.I.) acquired property in the
area from other mining companies and started mining in 1902. In the
first three years of C.C.I.'s operation, more than one million tons of
ore was mined. Most of the mining was done in the Austin and Princeton
area, and that is where Cleveland Cliffs' central office and testing
lab was located.
president of C.C.I., William G. Mather, decided that a town should be
built for the miners to live in. He chose a location that was both
beautiful and was not positioned over any iron deposits. Gwinn would be
a model town, which meant that it would be designed before it was
built. The designing was done by Warren H. Manning, a prominent
architect from Boston. Construction of the town began in 1907, and it
was completed in 1910. The town was named after Mather's mother,
Elizabeth Lucy Gwinn, and in honor of the Gwinn family.
the building of the town, the course of the Escanaba River was changed
to prevent flooding the mines. C.C.I. started the hospital, which had a
capacity of 15, and Dr. MacIntire was the chief doctor for many years.
The Gwinn Hotel opened after the construction of the town was complete.
The Clubhouse was given to the community by Mather. It contained a
bowling alley, a tennis court, a skating rink, a swimming pool, and it
had showers in the basement for the miners to use. The Gwinn State
Savings Bank opened in November 1908. A clock tower was built in 1914,
but was torn down in 1990. The K.I Sawyer Air Force Base was developed
in 1955 and shut down in 1995. Presently Sawyer is a growing community
of people, businesses, and activity.