Copper CountryHancockMinesQuincy Mine

A Modern Mesnard

Remnants of the Quincy No.8

Heading northward along US41 outside of Hancock will bring visitors alongside one of the region’s most famous landmarks – the Quincy No.2 Shafthouse. Yet continue on a mile further and a second towering remnant of the old copper empire can be glimpsed rising up from the trees. Unlike its brethren down the street, this particular structure was a more modern addition to the landscape having been built around 1976. It’s purpose was to explore the abandoned Quincy No.8 shaft in hopes of finding new copper deposits to pillage in the old Mesnard Mine.

Mesnard Mine had its start in 1859 as it began sinking a single shaft into the northern reaches of the Pewabic Lode. The scrappy upstart was hoping to take advantage of the same copper riches the Quincy was pillaging just a mile to the south, yet similar fortunes would not be forthcoming. For over a decade the mine would make a go at it, unearthing just some 84,000 pounds of copper for the effort. Yet in the end the mine would close its doors fortune-less and its remains snatched up by the neighboring Pewabic Mine in 1876. The Pewabic would do little with the property and it would be another decade before any serious attempt would be made to mine copper again at the site. This time, however, it would be the Quincy that would make a go at finding those elusive copper riches.

The old Mesnard shaft was thus re-opened around 1897, complete with a brand new surface plant.  Known as Quincy No. 8 officially, the shaft would more commonly be known simply as the Mesnard shaft. For the next few decades the Quincy would work the shaft on and off, though no great copper riches were ever discovered. The shaft would be abandoned along with the rest of the Quincy after the Second World War, its surface plant allowed to crumble away. It would be another thirty years before any attempts were made again, this time resulting in the scrappy surface plant found at the site today. The endeavor, however, proved ultimately futile and the project was soon abandoned leaving behind the iron skeleton as a memorial to the attempt. 

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Discussion

  1. Using maps.live.com I noticed a structure SE of the hoist and NE of the storage building(dry house). off topic do you know anything of the white pine location the aerial photos show train cars and regular cars there.

  2. Geoff, you’re probably looking at the ruins of the old (Quincy-era) Mesnard hoist and boiler ruins. Of course, I might be getting ahead of Mike here — this is just the first day of the Mesnard series!

  3. Geoff…

    As far as White Pine I’m not sure, although I know a few of the old mine buildings are currently being used. One is the power plant, which had recently been brought back on line, and the second is some time of machine shop or mill of some type. The mine itself is still being used for a variety of environmental and science studies, including an underground hydroponics garden i think.

    As far as those ruins to the east of these structures – it is the remains of Quincy’s hoist and boiler plant. And dcclark is right..

    …I’m going to feature those ruins tomorrow.

  4. I believe the head frame was built by Homestake, more looking than digging if I remember right

  5. I believe the history is:

    – Original mine — named Mesnard
    – Acquired by Quincy, becomes Quincy #8
    – Reopened by Homestake, called Mesnard again

    Homestake left the metal frame pictured here — the link from Gordy is from the Quincy era, apparently.

  6. I’m back from the dead… ERR more like the over worked, putting in 12’s with a little one at home makes it hard to get on but I digress…

    The shaft is capped with rail and steel plate, which lies underneath the dirt, the same as No. 9 Shaft is capped. The hoist is electric and still resides in the hoist house, it is a single drum and came from one of the Osceola shafts as did the head frame, which is a single compartment head frame used only for hoising men (as you guessed from the man cage on the landing). Homestake rehabed the shaft to about the 2200 level (+/-) and reestablished compressed air and water. Their goal was to find the offset for the Pewabic lode, as it pinches in the shallow workings inbetween No. 8 and No. 9 (Mesnard and Pontiac), coincidentally the pinch corresponds to a fault which is the northern control for the lode… The idea was that the lode was offset, Quincy never explored this option and Homestake only had one drill hole in it before they pulled the plug (managment change), which is also when they pulled the plug on Centennial, S543, what little work they were doing at Kingston and the other defunct C&H operations…

  7. oops, it was 543-S, it was the largest of the sulfide deposits found by homestake copper, there were several others (5 total I think) as well, including a small one under MT. Bohemia, which I am sure is why IP didn’t sell the mineral rights to Mt. Bohemia.

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