Metropolitan was a small metropolis that went by many names, including Milltown and Felch. ‘“On to Felch Mountain!” the cry of the explorer,’ The Iron Mountain newspaper reported in 1880. By 1909 the Iron Port paper printed ‘Felch Having a Boom … Who said Felch was dead?’ But the ‘boom’ of Metropolitan was that of a boom town.

Iron ore was discovered on Felch Mountain in 1873 by Dr. Nelson P. Hulst. In 1876 the first mine was opened, possibly only as an exploration because there was no way to ship the ore. In 1880 there was a big find at the mine and it was transferred to the Metropolitan Iron and Land Company. Metropolitan was platted in 1882. Listed as one of the principal mines for the State of Michigan in 1881, though it hadn’t shipped any ore yet, the Metropolitan mine ended up shipping ore for six years.

There were several schools in the Metropolitan area, including a railway car that had been converted into a one room school house. Between the three parts of Metropolitan there was a depot, post office, several schools, general stores, a barber shop, and in 1907 a Swedish church was built. Andrew Rian ran a shoe-making shop, grocery store, a hotel, creamery, and blacksmith shop in addition to a farm and logging camps in Felch. There was also a town hall that held a library, was used for dances and social events, and was used as a night school to teach immigrants English.

Metropolitan was laid out like a triangle with Felch Mountain to the north, West Metropolitan (Milltown) to the west, and East Metropolitan (Felch) to the east. Metropolitan was also nicknamed “Polly” by the people who lived there. Between 1877 and 1882 a branch of the Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad was completed that reached Metropolitan. Metropolitan was also visited by stage coaches several times a week from Norway, Michigan.

The Metropolitan Mine produced iron ore, but yellow ochre was found and mined in the Metropolitan area for a time and Felch had a marble quarry where bits of gold and silver had been found in the marble. The Metropolitan mine was abandoned in 1885 because of poor grade ore. By 1905, the Metropolitan Lumber Company moved operations from Milltown and offered jobs to men willing to work in California, where they settled another town with the name of Metropolitan. The closing of these two operations saw the exodus of many Metropolitan citizens who had been laborers. By 1913, there were thirty-four farmers in Metropolitan, and most of the rest of the town was made up of laborers and loggers who worked around Dickinson County. By 1978 Metropolitan had become a ghost town, what little remained of it was absorbed by the town of Felch which was then exclusively its own town.

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