The Ore Dock BotEco Center

Our goal is to create a special place on Marquette's waterfront that achieves a sustainable balance of educational, recreational and commercial uses.

1) Ecological Education and Research Facilities
2) Year-round Indoor Botanical Gardens
3) Historical Preservation and Education
4) Community Spaces


Marquette’s Lower Harbor Ore Dock was constructed for loading iron ore from nearby mines’ rail cars onto ore boats for further transport. With railway tracks along the top, rail cars would bottom dump (gravity feed) ore into “pockets”. Each pocket’s hinged chute lowered to drop the ore into the hold of a ship moored adjacent to the dock.  The pockets are wider at the top than the bottom; the chutes are steel and project out over the water at a slight angle from the sides of the docks.

  • Constructed between 1931 to 1932
  • Construction cost $1,350,000 ($20,000,000 in 2012 dollars)
  • Built by Duluth, South Shore and Atlantic Railroad
  • Subsequently owned by Soo Line, Wisconsin Central, and Canadian National Railroads
  • Dock length: 969 feet
  • Dock height: 85 feet, 7 inches
  • Dock width: 67 feet, 9.5 inches
  • Number of ore pockets: 150
  • Capacity: 56,250 tons
  • Footprint approximately 1.5 acres
  • Steel reinforced concrete construction set on timber pilings in lake bed


Decommissioned December 31, 1971


*Photos courtesy of the City of Marquette website