If it wasn’t for the discovery of the Pewabic Lode by Quincy’s northern neighbor, “old reliable” may have never survived its misfortunes along the Quincy Lode. It didn’t take Quincy long to find the Pewabic’s extension onto its property and begin sinking shafts to exploit it. But while the Pewabic lode may have single handedly saved Quincy from oblivion, it wasn’t so helpful to the Pewabic Mine. For the next 30 years the Pewabic Mine languished to find a profitable amount of copper along its section of the lode. Copper deposits are finicky, and what may be a highly rich lode for one mine can be barren for another. In the end it couldn’t make it work and Quincy happily snatched its property up for its own.
Our first ruin that faced us as we crossed over onto the old Pewabic Mine was this large brick structure – Quincy’s machine shop. This building was used to repair and maintain the mines many mechanical equipment. Today the building is being rehabilitated to serve as the new Seaman Mineral Museum that currently is housed at Michigan Tech. To see what it looked like inside, check out this great inside looks thanks to HAER: MACHINE SHOP PLAN.
Next in line to the Machine Shop is the old Blacksmith / Drill Shop. For some reason this building has been built from sandstone instead of brick, and is much more impressive structure. Luckily this building will be refurbished as well, to also serve as display and storage space for the museum. The back side of this “T” shaped building (shown here in the photo) was used to sharpen drills. A loading dock once stood off to left which received train-car loads of dull bits from the mines. HAER also provided a great look inside here: BLACKSMITH SHOP PLAN.
Sitting behind these large buildings was the foundations to a third. The concrete foundation which remained here seemed to suggest a structure that was built later in Quincy’s life, and definitely not a left-over from the Pewabic Mine. After looking over some HAER maps I think this was a compressor building. Atop the foundations would have sat a steam engine used to create compressed air to run the drills underground.
Here’s a closer look at those machine mounts. Very little is left except for some metal brackets and what looks like a pipe imbedded in the concrete.
Also sitting atop the ruins was this large elbow pipe. I’m not sure if this is original to the structure or just happened to end up here but it looks like it could have served as an intake for steam perhaps (missing its asbestos jacket of course)
At the building’s south-east corner was this raised platform that looks a lot like a stack base but without the hole in the middle. I’m pretty sure this building was fed steam from the nearby boilers – which is where we headed next.