Monthly Archives: December 2006

The Mill Foundation

featured

The passing of over a century of time can do a lot to cover the ruins of men. Once the Copper Falls Mill sat alone on a deforested hillside. Now a forest has grown up around it, and all that it was has rotted or fallen away. All that is …

Where Once Was a Mill

featured

a sandstone block sitting alone in the forest The adit here on the side of the hill was only a small part of the Copper Falls operation. The main focus of the company was a series of shafts sunk high atop the hill above us. The adit tunneled here was …

Anatomy of the Underground

featured

The adit we discovered at Copper Falls in only part of a much larger labyrinth of tunnels and shafts that comprise a Copper Country mine. The copper rich rock that mines sought were localized and concentrated into areas called lodes. Due to the geological forces that shaped the Keweenaw, copper …

Atop an Adit

featured

Hidden planks in the ground. Were these perhaps remains of a short rail line? Even after 150 years man’s presence remains. By now, however, that presence has managed to blend rather nicely into the forest that surrounds us. Long rusted rods seem to grow like trees among their wooded cousins. …

Copper Falls

featured

It was obvious that a stamp mill once existed along the edges of these sands. Knowing a thing or two about stamp mills we had an idea of where to look. Stamp Mills relied on two things in order to separate copper: water and gravity. Any stamp mill would be …

From Marsh to Sands

featured

the coarse and dark sands at Copper Falls Walking out on the sands at Copper Falls quickly became a surreal experience. The sands spread outwards in all directions, drifting off into the forest surrounding us. These sands were more coarse and darker then the sand found at the Mohawk mill. …

Beach without a Lake

featured

from a high bluff, the stamp sands from the Copper Falls Mine seem to engulf the forest Taking the old two-track from Eagle Harbor southward brings you through a Christmas scented forest carpeted by ferns and tanned pine needles. Fall had arrived to the Copper Country by the time we …

Prosperity to Ruin

featured

a town now in ruin The prosperity of the Copper Country slowly died along with the industry that provided it, until the bottom fell out with the closing of C&H in the late ’60s. While some towns – such as Houghton and Hancock – were able to meek out a …

First National Bank

featured

Calumet and Laurium are geographical close enough to be considered one town but were light years apart in terms of character. While Calumet consisted of miners, railroad workers and the like; Laurium housed the upper crust of the Copper Country. Here lived the shopkeepers, mine captains, railroad owners, and millionaires. …

Trash to Treasure

poster

a trash heap at the Arcadian Mine containing items from an old restuarant If there is one thing of certainty in our explorations across the Copper Country, it is the fact that no matter where we go or how deep into the woods we venture, we will always find trash. …

Smokestacks and Stamp Sands

featured

As we leave the Champion Mill, we take one last look at the monument that sits along with it – the smokestack. This is the first thing you see as you near the mill, and is one of your most obvious clues to this sites history. Like the Gay stack …

Concrete Walls and Trestles

featured

the most prominent feature at the champion mill, the long concrete wall along the back wall of the mill as seen here Moving up a terrace from the rows of pillars discussed earlier, we find ourselves atop a series of short rock piles. These piles are of poor rock, and …

Pillars

featured

Exiting the pump house, we found ourselves facing a long line of concrete pillars stretching out ahead of us. There were three sets laid out in parallel rows. The first consisted of a single square base – not a pillar really – sitting about two feet high. The next line …

Feeding the Thirst

featured

Stamp mills required large amounts of water to operate, in the order of tens of millions of gallons a day. While some mills such as those at Redridge relied on dams to create large reservoirs to supply their water needs, mills such as Champion simply pumped the needed water out …

Buddles?

featured

The Champion Mill, like any mill on the Keweenaw, works to separate copper from the rock that entombs it. First, copper rock is broken down into very small particles using stamps, then a series of machines work to separate the heavier copper from the much lighter rock. The copper is …

The Big Picture

featured

After making our way off the beach an atop the short ridge backing it, we had found ourselves at the center of an expansive concrete floor. It stretched away from us in all directions, dropping off to the lake behind us backed by high concrete walls in front of us. …