Michael Forgrave

Jackson’s Park

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John Jackson was a Copper Country native, born in the booming mining town of Mohawk in 1901. After obtaining degrees in both Mining and Civil engineering at the Michigan College of Mines, Mr. Jackson went into the employ of unsurprisingly the Mohawk Mining Company. After the mine’s closure at the …

The Lady in Red

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In order for a business to survive it obviously needs customers with money to spend and an inclination for doing so. Yet in an era before the advent of modern marketing, social media, and page views, businesses had very limited options when it came to getting noticed.  Even more problematic …

A Rest for the Weary

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Before the arrival of the railroad, travel across the sprawling mining lands of the Keweenaw was an arduous affair. For a time only a hodgepodge of trails and rough roads connected one mine to the next, most routes often impassible during the winter or spring months. It wasn’t until 1861 that …

Supply Lines

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As we continue our fresh look at CCE’s earliest posts we stumble across our first exploration of one of the Keweenaw’s most impressive and popular ruins. That is of course the Redridge Dam, a steel monstrosity rising up across the Salmon-Trout River gorge in Redridge. Its an incredible piece of …

A Walk Up Quincy Creek

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Earlier this month CCE quietly passed another milestone as it entered yet another year of copper country exploring after an incredible 11 years . To help celebrate CCE’s birthday, I’ve decided to take a tour of CCE’s early years back before I obtained my first high-resolution camera. As most of you know, …

The Alberta Visitor’s Center

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The small community of Alberta in Baraga County was not only a functioning industrial village, it was also an utopian vision manifested in wood and stone. For its creator – Henry Ford – it was the inevitable realization of an industrialist vision of the future. This was a community built, …

The Alberta Village

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Situated deep in the wilderness of Baraga County far removed from civilization lies an upper peninsula peculiarity. Its very existence defies convention, as no copper, iron, slate, or even sandstone resides within its proximity. It stands not on any navigable body of water and no rail line passes by its door. There …

The Great Copper Tower

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Hancock’s rise to power and prestige was a quick one. Within just a couple of decades the small mining town found itself at the center of a sprawling industrial empire, its population growing by leaps and bounds in the process. For a time the city was at the top of …

Along the Three Hundred

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Hancock’s original plat was a mere five blocks long, bordered on both sides by mine-owned lands belonging to the Quincy on the east and the Hancock Mine to the west. On that western end would be located the village’s public entities – including its schools, town hall, and later the …

Lost Hancock

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Our historic photographer Tom Roberts was quite the connoisseur of all things Hancock as most of the hundreds of his pictures I now have in my possession feature the old mining town and the mine that gave it birth. Those pictures span decades of time, from the 1960s up to the dawn …

The Funkey Block

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The fires that ravaged the 200 block of Hancock’s Quincy Street were almost complete in their destruction. Over a dozen 19th century buildings were wiped away, leaving large empty spaces along both sides of the commercial corridor. While new buildings would eventually move into the now open spaces, those replacement …

The Replacements

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The purge of the 200 block did not come all at once but instead it occurred systematically over nearly half a century of attrition. Fire after fire and demolition after demolition left this second block of Hancock’s commercial corridor largely devoid of its 19th century buildings. Fortunately the great Copper Empire would …

Forged From Fire

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Fire has always been a constant danger to old mining communities in the Copper Country. To make the matter more problematic was the region’s long, harsh, and often bone chillingly cold winters – winters which often pushed heating systems to their limits. Chimney fires, stove fires, unsupervised space heaters, coal fires…the ways …

Downtown Hancock (p2)

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Quincy Street’s 100 block grew quickly, forming a dense commercial corridor early in Hancock’s history. Most of that was due to location, as the block was bookended by a pair of relatively busy thoroughfares. To the east was the wagon-road connecting Quincy Mine’s mill and surface plant while to the …

Downtown Hancock (p1)

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The Copper Empire hit its peak in the early 1910s, a time when employment and opportunity was at its greatest fervor in the region. This was a time before the great strike of 1913 would put a knife into the empire’s side and far before the Great Depression would stick a …

The Wright Block and Gartner’s Department Store

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The First National Bank building at the corner of Quincy and Reservation was not the first home of the financial institution, as it had already been operating in Hancock since nearly the village’s conception. Back then one of the bank’s tellers was an American by the name of Charles Augustus …

At the Crossroads

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Hancock’s precarious perch along the steep slopes of Quincy Hill greatly constrained the young village’s original platt. As such the only suitable space for building existed along a very narrow plateau sandwiched between a rugged cliff along the lakeshore and a increasingly steep topography to the north. It was a space that …

The Scott Hotel

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In 1906 the Copper Country was all grown up. As the new century dawned what was once nothing more then a frontier mining camp had matured into a modern metropolitan region and home to the state’s third largest population cluster. Along with its rise to prominence came a equally strong regional …

The Quincy Ravine

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The land on which the city of Hancock currently stands was once all owned by a young Quincy Mining Company, who first came to the Portage valley around 1846. The mine’s early attempt to find copper were not entirely successful and its original pursuits along the hillside near the campus of present …

Superior City

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After some absence, CCE’s reporter on the spot Craig Aldinger returns for another back woods exploring adventure. This time he takes a trek to find the old mining community of Superior City – a platt of land once serving the short lived Superior Mine.  This only took me forever and …

The Mansions of College Ave

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Unlike its neighbor across the pond, Houghton’s origins were not tied directly to any mine company. It was instead born from private interests, hoping to take advantage of the mining industry and the related industries that were developing within the Portage Valley in the mid 1850s. That didn’t mean that the …

CC Scrapbook: Missing in Action Edition

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Our look at the lost Milwaukee Hotel along Hancock’s Aztec-inspired Tezcuco Street got me inspired to take a look at a few more lost treasures of the Copper Country – buildings and places long gone before CCE had a chance to document them. Luckily there are many other copper country …

The Lost Temple of Tezcuco

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The Acolhua people were one of the three “city-states” to once control the Valley of Mexico – the highland plateau in central Mexico where current day Mexico City is located. The Acolhuan people were advanced both cultural and technologically, living in piece with their neighbors to form what we know …

A Copper Country Time Machine

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Tom Roberts was born and raised in Battle Creek, yet his heart was always in the Copper Country. His family was from Hancock and his grandmother lived in her family home on Lake Street overlooking the Portage. He would visit his grandmother often, and when he did he was sure …