Champion was first settled by French-Canadian lumberjacks and miners from Cornwall. By 1900 new immigrants, Scandinavians, Germans, Italians, Irish, and Finns had settled the area. Champion soon became a vital railroad, mining, logging, and farming center.
In 1912 a cave-in struck Champion. A hole one hundred feet deep and three hundred feet wide was formed, which destroyed several homes. The cave-in caused the Champion Mine to collapse and was subsequently shut down for good. By that time the mine had brought up over 4 million tons or iron ore.