Cause of Iron Mountain fire probed


Staff Writer

IRON MOUNTAIN – Officials are still trying to determine the cause of a fire that destroyed a historic, 128-year-old building in Iron Mountain.

The blaze occurred early Tuesday morning at Francie’s Traditional Designs, an interior design business located at the intersection of Carpenter Avenue and West Brown Street.

Firefighters from the Iron Mountain Fire Department said that they will continue investigating the incident today.

In the meantime, the two-block section of Carpenter Avenue between West Fleshiem Street and West Ludington Street will remain closed to traffic. There is still a concern that the remaining structure could collapse.

Francie’s Traditional Designs had occupied the space since about 2000, but the building’s history goes back much further in time.

Menominee Range Historical Foundation Historian William Cummings said that the First Presbyterian Church congregation started construction on the building in 1885 at a cost of about $3,000.

Construction was completed in early 1886, and the first services were held in the church on Sunday, Feb. 7, 1886.

Cummings said that the church building saw various improvements in 1930, 1940, 1941, and 1942. Upgrades included a new chancel, north entrance, furnace room, furnace system, basement floor, partitions, lavatories, and kitchen cupboards.

In May 1955, the congregation voted to build a new church in Kingsford. Their new church building, located on Hamilton Avenue, was dedicated on Oct. 12, 1958, said Cummings.

According to information provided by Iron Mountain Main Street Manager Jonathan Ringel, Trico Opportunities Inc. used the old church building as part of a welfare workshop for a time in the 1970s.

In 1983, the Pine Mountain Baptist Church moved into the building. The congregation remained there until the 1990s.

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