In 1878, George and James O'Callaghan built a sawmill here.
The village was born in 1877 with the sinking of the first test pit of the old Norway Mine by Anton Odell, (supposedly) a Norwegian.* The first iron mine was established in 1878 and named "The Norway Mine" by the president of the Menominee Mining Company, J.J. Hagerman (see biographical sketch, below). The city developed from the mine's location.
Anton Odell platted this village in 1879. On September 11, 1879, the village received a post office called Ingolsdorf. Charles E. Knowlton was its first postmaster. Just under three months later, on December 8, 1879, the post office name was changed to Norway.
This settlement was incorporated as a city in 1891 with a station on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad.
Norway is located at the junction of US-2 & US-8 in Dickinson County. It is a community of about 3,000 people.
*The only Odell this researcher has been able to locate that would be remotely close to Anton Odell is Antoin Odell in the 1880 census of Breitung, Menominee County (FHL Film #1254595. NA Film #T9-0595, page #125D). It shows at 23 year old Antoin born about 1857 in Wisconsin, the son of PRUSSIAN parents. A search of the 1860 census of Wisconsin (at ancestry.com) produced a 40-year old Antoine Odell with a 6-year old daughter and no son. If anyone is able to substantiate the claim that Anton Odell was Norwegian, will you please contact me? I'd like to place his bio sketch on this page.
James John "J.J." Hagerman was an entrepreneur involved in iron production in Wisconsin, ore mining in Michigan, railroads and mining in Colorado, and railroads and irrigation in New Mexico's Pecos Valley. He made his first fortune developing iron deposits in Michigan and as ironmaster in Milwaukee Wisconsin.
J.J. was born March 23, 1838, near Port Hope, Canada, to James Parrot Hagerman and Margaret Crawford Hagerman. The family moved to Newport, Michigan, in 1843. In 1857, he entered the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, graduating in June 1861.
During his college years and afterwards, J.J. worked for Captain Eber Ward, whose interests were in the shipping, iron and railroad businesses. J.J. worked his way up until, in 1869, he became general manager of the Milwaukee Iron Company. Due to an economic depression in the iron rail business however, the Milwaukee Iron Company lost a great deal of money in 1873.
By 1876 the need for the ore used in Bessemer steel had greatly increased. J.J. Hagerman became involved in the Menominee Mining Company, whose deposits were in northern Michigan. Within four years he had acquired a large fortune. In 1884, attempting to ease the effects of pulmonary tuberculosis, J.J. moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado where he developed business interests in the western region.
He died while vacationing in Milan, Italy in 1909. J.J. is buried in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
James John Hagerman Family Papers. Ms 104. Rio Grande Historical Collections. New Mexico State University Library.
Meeting the Train: Hagerman, New Mexico and its Pioneers. Published for the Hagerman Historical Society.
The Lives of James John Hagerman by John J. Lispey.