The Kearsarge Amygdaloid was home to more independent mines then probably any other load. No less then a dozen mines struck shafts along its length from the Cliff Range to Calumet. These included (from north to south) the Ojibway, Seneca, Gratiot, Mohawk, Ahmeek, Allouez, North Kearsarge, Wolverine, South Kearsarge, C&H, and Le Salle. Most of these mines lie within or near the Allouez Gap in an area I like to call the Valley of the Mines.
The valley is a treasure trove for explorers like ourselves, but the sheer numbers of mines in the area make identifying what we find that much more difficult. Usually identifying a mine is a process of elimination. We know generally where mines should be and guess to ones identity by its general location. But here in the valley however, there are just too many possibilities and the name game becomes problematic. Also the mines here are close, and in some cases are right next door to one another. Knowing when one mine stops and another begins is difficult, unless you know the exact number of shafts from a particular mine. But even knowing that isn’t extremely helpful.
Here is a map showing the Valley and its many mine sites. In this map are the locations of shafts belong to a total of 6 mines: Ahmeek, Kingston, Allouez, North Kearsarge, Wolverine, and South Kearsarge. As discussed here previously we identify shafts by the presence of poor rock piles, and the valley is chock full of them. On the map are shown the individual piles, and we have marked them with letters (A-k) for a total of 11 shafts. For perspective we have also included the location of modern major roads and towns, including Allouez to the North, Copper City to the East, and Kearsarge to the South. We have also placed the right-of-ways to the major railroads in the area: the Copper Range in black and the Mineral Range in gray. (Notice how the Copper Range doesn’t seem to service any of these mines, and only zigs zags past them. You can see the obvious feeder lines to most of the mines from the Mineral Range however) By looking at the map as it sits now you would be hard pressed to figure out which mine is which or even where one mine ends and another begins (although you might have some ideas).
The mine we are featuring this week is smack dab in the middle of the Valley of Mines, marked as “F” on the map. We have been past this mine before, and featured some of its remains in “Snowbound”. It sits along an old road which once connected Copper City and Kearsarge that we like to call “Old Copper City Road”. The problamatic nature of the Valley of the Mines makes identifying this mine difficult – but not impossible. First, what we know.
Using the coordinates provided by the Minerology Database at Mindat.org we were able to identify a few of these mines. We know that pile “A” belongs to the South Kearsage Mine, pile “C” belongs to the Wolverine Mine, pile “E” belongs to the North Kearsarge (featured in these pages before), pile “J” is the Kingston Mine (also explored here before) and pile “K” is the Ahmeek Mine (shaft #2 specifically). While a good start, this still leaves more then half of the shafts unidentified. Luckily, we also know the order of the mines from the south to north. This order is: South Kearsarge, Wolverine, North Kearsarge, Allouez, Kingston, and Ahmeek. Using these two things that we do know, we can attempt to deduce the identity of the rest.
Here is the previous map, now with the addition of the identify of the piles we do know. Here we can see that pile “B” is either part of South Kearsarge or the Wolverine Mine. Pile “D” is either the Wolverine or the North Kearsarge. Piles “F-I” are either part of the North Kearsarge or the Allouez since we know that there is only one shaft at Kingston. This narrows down our mystery mine’s identity to either North Kearsarge or Allouez. Knowing this, we think its the North Kearsarge. Here’s why.
We’re pretty sure that piles “H” and “I” are Allouez shafts due to two reasons. First they are sandwiched between the towns of Allouez and New Allouez (these shafts are technically the “new Allouez” shafts, the “old” Allouez sitting on the other side of the highway) Second we know that the Allouez shafts were set “off” of the Kearsarge lode and sunk almost vertical shafts in order to hit the titled lode. If you drew a line between piles “A-G” and over to “K”, these shafts would lie outside the lode.
Our mystery shaft “F” sits too far away from the towns of Allouez or New Allouez to be the same mine. It also sits along the lode and not off it. Then there’s this map of the same area that I found online that clearly shows pile “G” marked as “Kearsarge No. 4”. This would make our mystery spot Kearsarge No. 3.
UPDATE: thanks to our resident mine expert, Joe Dase I now know that this shaft in question is North Kearsarge No. 4. No. 3 is in the woods between the first shaft we found at North Kearsarge (No. 2) and this one. (No. 3 can be seen – I think – in one of the photos in our “snowbound” post.