Michigan Roadside Attractions: “Big John” Miner Sign at Iron Mountain Iron Mine
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to unusual.
What better way to draw visitors in to a historic site that offers iron mine tours than a 40-foot tall, 2,000 lb. sign featuring the “world’s largest miner?” Michigan’s Iron Mountain Iron Mine invites visitors in with “Big John,” a miner who has stood guard over the parking lot since the 1950s.
The Iron Mountain Iron Mine operated for 68 years and produced more than 21 million tons of iron ore that was shipped out to steel mills. It was opened as a tourist attraction in 1958, and visitors are treated to an immersive experience that takes you 400 feet below the earth’s surface. Underground rock formations and lighted caverns are highlights of the underground train tour. More information on rates and hours can be found at the website for the museum, at: http://ironmountainironmine.wix.com/ironmine.
A small sign under Big John details his massive measurements and provides a great chance for photo ops on the side of US-2 near Vulcan. There’s another roadside attraction just across the highway, a concrete bear statue by sculptor John Radlovitz.