From its earliest conception I had always envisioned CCE as a community gathering spot, where fellow Copper Country explorers could share information and swap stories about their own explorations. Towards that end I have had an open policy when it came to guest contributions – if you have any adventures, photos, or articles you would like to share I would be more than happy to publish it on the web here at CCE. While I have gotten a good deal of photos in the past, guest posts have not been so forthcoming. That all changes today, thanks to fellow Copper Country explorer Brian Wereley.
This spring Brian has had the chance to head out to the old Superior Mine and take a few photos along the way. He’s been kind enough to write up a post of his own detailing his journey illustrated with his own photos. Today I present that post on CCE, along with a few of my own observations. To keep things clear my thoughts will be in italics. So without further ado I present CCE’s first guest post:
The Superior Mine consisted of two shafts on the Baltic Lode operated by The Superior Mining Company from 1904 thru 1920. It was later purchased by Calumet & Hecla in 1925 but no other work was ever done. In its 16 years of operation the Superior Mine produced some 30 million pounds of refined copper. I’m not sure which shaft I had found or its depth, but I suspect the other one is to the southwest according to maps.
This is in fact the No.1 shaft, with the No.2 indeed sitting to the south west.
What’s a mine location without poor rock piles?
I assume this is a de-watering well used pull ground water away from the quarry that sits to the northeast. It consists of a pump and generator and it appears to be using the original shaft.
Working our way away from the shaft collar, there is a lot of debris. Here looking towards the collar can be seen several covered “pipe-ways”.
Here’s another shot of those pipe-ways as photographed by Brian.
Further away but still looking towards the collar, we can see a series of footing. These are presumably for the cableways.
I don’t know what that foundation in the middle ground in the previous photo could have been for, but here is a closeup. At some point in recent history someone painted a basketball free throw line and three point line, but the hoop is gone. I doubt this foundation is for the shaft house due to the fact that the cableway footings continue on both sides of it.
Here is another view of that same foundation. It looks as if there was once something mounted on the floor.
This foundation belongs to the Compressor House, and the mounts were most likely for the compressors themselves.
Then further back still we have the foundation for the hoist house.
The collar house is down at the far end of the photo, its direction marked with an arrow. This is the left mandible for the hoist drum, the opening in the foundation to allow the attached crank to turn unabated.
This hoist is in the classic H shape, with this photo showing that right mandible along with the crossing bar of the “H” in the foreground. The shaft is to the right, marked with the arrow once again. The opening to the right would be for the hoist drum. The size of the hole seems to suggest the shaft never reach a very significant depth as there doesn’t seem to be room for a very large drum.
Here’s a look at the famed maintenance trench, this one sitting on the hoist building’s shaft-ward side. This opening in the wall could either be for a door or a window. Not sure on which.
One last look at the hoist, this one showing its backside. The trench here is filled with water. The bolts on the left would have been for the piston assembly.
Also at the location, we have submerged rail ties. Only submerged due to the time of year I visited (spring).
These belong to the old mainline which fed the rock house, belonging to the A&LS RR (later Copper Range) I believe. That or its part of the Isle Royale line. Not sure where one ends and another begins.
To bring it all together, here’s a ruin map I put together based on Brian’s observations and the Sanborn map of the mine. Along with the collar house, hoist, and compressor ruins that Brian found there should also be a dry house nearby along with a blacksmith shop.
- Photos and Text by Brian Wereley. (Thanks Brian!)