Michael Forgrave

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 …

And Not a Drop to Drink (p2)

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The tumultuous life and times of the brewery at Lakeview have created similarly tumultuous remains. Various additions, alterations, and the ramshackle toil of time have sculpted the old masonry structure into something hard to identify, categorize, or simplify. The Calumet Brewery is as an organic ruin as we have explored before, …

And Not A Drop to Drink (p1)

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The Calumet Brewery out in Lakeview served the residents of the Red Jacket metropolis for a quarter of a century, a history of brewing that was not without its setbacks. In fact the Calumet Brewery once was known as the Miswald Brewery, back when it was owned and operated by …

Lakeview and its Brewery

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As the Copper Country reached the end of the 19th century, the booming village of Red Jacket and its surrounding communities had begun to reach their limits of expansion. Surrounding on all sides by mine property off limits to development, any new businesses or residents hoping to make the mining village …

Behind a Green Veil

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Though only early June the air was thick and heavy – the relief given by the passing breeze now blocked by the dense collection of trees we found ourselves in. The trees were relatively young, with only a select few protruding through the low canopy of green just a half …

The Quincy Method (p4)

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As we’ve explored the soaring frame of the Quincy No.2 Shaft / Rockhouse we’ve largely concentrated our efforts on the rock handling components of the grand structure. Yet as its name implies the building has a secondary purpose as well, something a bit less extravagant as rock handling but important none-the-less. …

The Quincy Method (p3)

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Mining at its most basic level is nothing more than an exercise in transporting rock from one point to another. This process begins underground soon after the rock is blasted free from its subterrarian home as it is loaded into tram cars for transportation towards the nearest shaft. There it is transferred into skips …

The Quincy Method (p2)

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The Quincy Mine’s first foray into placing a rockhouse into its shafthouse was at the old Pewabic No.6, a shaft Quincy had acquired when it purchased its old neighbor in 1891. Known as the “North Quincy”, this shaft was far removed from the rest of the mine’s surface plant including its …