Date

5-1-2020

Description

In this project I seek to understand how collective identity within Great Lakes towns has shifted following widespread deindustrialization. Focusing on the Lake Superior town of Ashland, Wisconsin, I argue that deindustrialization has created midwestern Ghost Towns. Born from unsustainable mining booms, these towns have become obsolete to the corporations which produced them. Living amongst the physical ruins of capital, residents in these Ghost Towns base their identities around past economic prosperity, rather than current economic decline. In the case of Ashland, I employ deindustrialization scholarship to examine the monument of the demolished Soo Line Iron Ore Dock. Built in 1919, this Dock was the heart of Ashland, the namesake of its high school mascot ("The OreDockers"), and a source of constant nostalgia for the town's industrial past. Purported to have once been the largest Ore Dock in the world, the Soo Line Dock was demolished in 2013. As a resident of the nearby town of Cable, I have grown up alongside Ashland, and experienced the former mining town's industrial devastation, from the depletion of its industries to taconite tailings poisoning its water. This led me to explore the decline of Ashland for my senior project in American Studies, combining work from scholars across disciplines such as sociology, literature, and environmental studies.

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May 1st, 12:00 AM

"Haunting the Docks: Deindustrialization in Ashland, Wisconsin"

In this project I seek to understand how collective identity within Great Lakes towns has shifted following widespread deindustrialization. Focusing on the Lake Superior town of Ashland, Wisconsin, I argue that deindustrialization has created midwestern Ghost Towns. Born from unsustainable mining booms, these towns have become obsolete to the corporations which produced them. Living amongst the physical ruins of capital, residents in these Ghost Towns base their identities around past economic prosperity, rather than current economic decline. In the case of Ashland, I employ deindustrialization scholarship to examine the monument of the demolished Soo Line Iron Ore Dock. Built in 1919, this Dock was the heart of Ashland, the namesake of its high school mascot ("The OreDockers"), and a source of constant nostalgia for the town's industrial past. Purported to have once been the largest Ore Dock in the world, the Soo Line Dock was demolished in 2013. As a resident of the nearby town of Cable, I have grown up alongside Ashland, and experienced the former mining town's industrial devastation, from the depletion of its industries to taconite tailings poisoning its water. This led me to explore the decline of Ashland for my senior project in American Studies, combining work from scholars across disciplines such as sociology, literature, and environmental studies.