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The diamond drill. : (Crystal Falls, Iron County, Mich.) 1887-1996
Place of publication:
Crystal Falls, Iron County, Mich.
Geographic coverage:
  • Crystal Falls, Iron, Michigan  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
C.M. Atkinson
Dates of publication:
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Jan. 22, 1887)-v. 109, no. 32 (Aug. 7, 1996).
  • English
  • Crystal Falls (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Iron County (Mich.)--Newspapers.
  • Michigan--Crystal Falls.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01281710
  • Michigan--Iron County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01214768
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 96076817
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The diamond drill. January 22, 1887 , Image 1


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The Diamond Drill

Claude M. Atkinson was the founding editor and proprietor of the Diamond Drill, a newspaper published in January 1887, in Crystal Falls, in Iron County, Michigan. Its name derived from the diamond-tipped drills that miners used to take core samples to determine the presence of iron ore.

In 1897, Thomas Conlin, Sr. began a long association with the newspaper, which continued until his death in 1935. Sole owner of the Diamond Drill after 1924, Conlin was personally interested in the mining industry. He served as president of the Michigan Equal Tax Association, an organization that was opposed state taxes levied against ore mined in Michigan. As a leading citizen of Crystal Falls, Conlin was often appointed to various public bodies, such as the county board of school examiners and the governing board of the Newberry State Hospital, an institution that cared for the insane.

After Conlin's death, his son, Thomas Conlin, Jr., ran the Diamond Drill for many years. Conlin, Jr., however, had an engineering degree from the University of Michigan and took a job in 1943 with the Michigan Highway Department. He sold the paper to the Rudolph family in 1946; the Diamond Drill remained in operation until 1996.

Iron County, Michigan, was established in 1885, and after a bitter dispute, Crystal Falls became the seat in 1887. The town was first settled in 1880, near a major deposit of iron ore. By 1881, approximately 500 people lived in Crystal Falls, most of them men, and almost all engaged either in mining or lumbering. The following year, the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad reached the town. However, the iron ore was of a lower grade than ore from other sites in northern Michigan and Minnesota, and the mining boom in Crystal Falls slowed during the 1890s. Despite the closure of some facilities in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, mining continued until the Great Depression. The last iron mine near Crystal Falls finally closed in 1969.

Lumbering operations began in the area in 1875, and for a period of time they were at least as, if not more, active than the mines. By 1889, 30 lumber camps were operating near Crystal Falls. Lumbering continued on a much reduced scale into the 21st century. As the mining declined and lumbering reached a steady but relatively low level, Crystal Falls has explored alternatives to those earlier industries, most notably tourism. However, the town's remote location and its distance from major population centers has limited its appeal as a tourist destination.

Provided by: Central Michigan University, Clark Historical Library