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A Winter’s Nap…

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The holiday season is once again upon us and once again CCE brings in the camera and the snowshoes and settles down for its winter nap. This year will be especially important, as my non-CCE ...

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Thank You!

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Thanksgiving is upon us, and in the spirit of the holiday I’d like to take a moment to give thanks to you – my readers. Since CCE has begun its annual fund-raising drive I am ...

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Lost CCE

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Today is a special day here on CCE. That’s because it was eight years ago today that the very first post of CCE was put up onto the internets. 2920 days, 1097 posts and over ...

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A Legacy Less Celebrated

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Its been over half a century since copper mining was active in the Keweenaw, a timespan that tends to smooth over rough edges and gleam over blemishes. The industrial empire that once dominated the peninsula’s ...

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The Rocket Range

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The tip of the Keweenaw is as remote and wild as you can get in the Keweenaw, situated over ten miles from any sign of civilization. The rugged landscape is challenging enough in the summer ...

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The Revolution in the Valley

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The Keweenaw Peninsula garnered its name from the native population who referred to the long finger of land as “Kee-wi-wai-non- ing”, roughly translated as the “place where portage is made”. Those early people would forgo ...

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A Few Old Churches

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Complimenting almost every mine location found across the Keweenaw was a line or two of homes and boarding houses that established a small mining location where workers would live. As the mine prospered and its ...

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Fading History

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Absent from the Copper Country for nearly a year we had just recently returned to do some work on our old house and prepare it for sale. As we expected very little seemed to have ...

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CCE Top 100 (p4)

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In commemoration of my 1000th post, I thought I’d take some time this week to delve back into CCE’s rather extensive archives and highlight some of what I feel are CCE’s best posts – a ...

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CCE Top 100 (p3)

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In commemoration of my 1000th post, I thought I’d take some time this week to delve back into CCE’s rather extensive archives and highlight some of what I feel are CCE’s best posts – a ...

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CCE Top 100 (p2)

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In commemoration of my 1000th post, I thought I’d take some time this week to delve back into CCE’s rather extensive archives and highlight some of what I feel are CCE’s best posts – a ...

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CCE Top 100 (p1)

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In commemoration of my 1000th post, I thought I’d take some time this week to delve back into CCE’s rather extensive archives and highlight some of what I feel are CCE’s best posts – a ...

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One Thousand

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“If, a century ago, you were to leave Calumet for points further south you would hop a train at the Mineral Range Depot on Oak Street and ride the line south towards Hancock. After passing ...

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A Tale of Two Cities

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Over 10 billion pounds of copper has made it’s way out of the Copper Country over the last century, an amount with an estimated street value of nearly 2 billion dollars (in turn of the ...

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Happy Birthday to CCE – with Video!

Today marks the third anniversary of CCE, which had its first post on this date back in 2006. On such an occasion as this I always like to show my appreciation to you - my readers. I don't have a great deal of mass appeal here at CCE, but that's made up easily by the outstanding group of regular readers that I do have that makes this all worth it in the end. Today CCE boasts over a hundred readers a day, with a solid following (that returns day after day) of over 50. While I appreciate all my readers, it's these dedicated few that I want to take the time to thank on this occasion.

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Now Available: The Copper Empire (Vol I)

Over the course of human existence there has been several great empires that have left their mark on the civilized world. These empires managed to rise from nothing to become revered the world over, only to crumble to ruin almost as quickly. In the process these great civilizations left their mark on the history of man as well as on the land they once inhabited. Over the course of the last three years I have come to recognize yet another of these great civilizations right here along the shores of the Keweenaw - the great Copper Empire.

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Welcome to the New CCE

First of all I would like to thank all of you for your patience during the last few weeks as I raced to finish the new site in time (I was only about 20 minutes late - not bad). It was a lot of work and more then a few late nights recently but the new site has finally arrived. But there's more changes yet to come, as I began writing the site's new daily content and start in CCE's new direction. More about that new direction later, for right now I thought I'd give a little tour of the site's new (and not so new) features. Let's begin...

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A Note To My Readers…

I know for some of you the title of this post is somewhat ominous, as the last time I used it I was announcing my intention to shut down CCE permanently. At that time I was reaching a point financially and personally which made the task of keeping up with this site daunting if not insurmountable. Thankfully my loyal readers out there (and you all know who you are) made a convincing case for CCE's future, and prompted me to continue. Because of you, next month will begin my fourth year of Copper Country exploring.

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Old Schools of the Copper Country (p3)

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The comforting arm of corporate paternalism wrapped itself around almost all aspects of community life in the Copper Country – including that of public education. While on paper school systems were municipally run and controlled ...

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Old Schools of the Copper Country (p1)

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The history of the American rural education system has always been tied closely with the agriculture industry. Those rural folks making a living off the land the education of their children was usually subservient to ...

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The Churches of Calumet

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St. Anthony’s Church, one of six Catholic Parishes in Calumet The Keweenaw Peninsula attracted immigrants from all across the globe who were looking for their own piece of the American Dream in the deep underground ...

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The Cliff Churches

Today we take a leisurely cruise down a stream of consciousness, more specifically mine. So try to follow along if you can. It all started as I was browsing through some Phoenix photos at the Keweenaw Digital Archives in preparation for a post I was going to write today. It was then that I stumbled across the photo you see above, and noticed a peculiar building marked with the arrow. This building looked like a church, especially the steeple-looking protrusion off its front. This got me thinking...

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Weekend Bonus: CCE in the Fall

The best time of the year - by far - to explore the remains of a Copper Country Empire is the fall. Not only is the fall the best time of year to be in the woods, the vibrant colors add an extra dimension to every photo you shoot. As fall here in the Copper Country reaches it climax I thought I'd share this color bounty with my readers unable to experience it for themselves. No better place to witness the splendor than atop the bounty of poor-rock piles scattered across the region. So without further ado I present some of CCE's greatest ode's to fall (starting with a newbie):

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Anatomy of a Mill (Stamps)


The processes of mill work can be separated into four distinct stages. The first stage involves breaking down the copper bearing rock from the mill into small pieces - a process known as stamping. These small particles of rock are then passed onto a series of roughing jigs followed by a series of refining jigs. In the last stage the remaining rock is sent to the wash floor, where a series of slime tables are used to remove the last traces of copper from the rocks before being discarded. We start today with the first and most important step of the entire process: the stamps.

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The Removal of the Osceola #13 Hoist

Over at the Copper Country Forums long-time reader Jay had shared a rumor he had heard about the removal of the hoist from Osceola #13. At first I didn't believe it. Since I knew that a new business was moving into the old Centennial No. 6 surface plant, I assured Jay that the rumor was most likely about that hoist and not the Osceola 13. He was persistent, so I decided to put it all to rest by just driving down there and checking out. Turns out the rumor's true.

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The Quincy Shafts

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For most mines along the Keweenaw shaft numbering was simple. The first shaft you sunk was the No. 1. Every shaft after that was named sequentially – working your way along the lode. Going from ...

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Of Architectural Interest

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Recently while working on research for another web site, I had come across an excellent web site about Copper Country Architecture put together by the Social Science department at Michigan Tech. The site provides biographies ...

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How to ID a Shaft

Its that time of year again when people - suffering from great bouts of cabin fever - venture out into the Keweenaw backwoods in search of old mine ruins to explore. With the leaves not yet on the trees and the snow melting - these ruins are easier to find and photograph then ever. Its a great time to go exploring, and also a great time for me to do a little public service announcement on the dangers of mine shafts.

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The Albion Rock

If Copper Country explorers like myself can be likened to a real-life Indiana Jones, then the famous Albion Rock is our Ark of the Covenant. Stories of its existence are shrouded in myth and mystery, passed down from one explorer to the next. Legend paints an epic tale: a bare flat rock sitting on the highest point of the Keweenaw from which you can look out across the peninsula from shore to shore - reading the topography like a real-life map. Could such a place really exist?

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Mystery at Mandan

One of the perks of creating a web site devoted to Copper Country history is that people often come to you with their Copper Country History questions. Recently I had received a question about the Mandan area - more specifically an inquiry about the locations of the mine and connecting rail spur. While I have been to the Mandan area many times, I myself had never found the mine site. As a result, I had to try to find an answer to the question from whatever clues I could discover on the internet. The information so far...

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The Southern Range (p2)

The Atlantic Mine's profitability had spurned a renewed interest in the southern range. This had prompted many investors to take a closer look at the area, hoping to find the next profitable copper deposit. It was atop a high hill overlooking the Pilgrim River valley known as Six Mile Hill where that mystical deposit was finally found: the Baltic Lode. Unlike the Atlantic's troublesome ash bed variety, the Baltic was much richer in copper (and much more stable) with yields as high as 30 pounds per ton of rock mined. At the time it was believed that the lode might surpass even the Calumet Conglomerate in its richness.

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The Southern Range (p1)

While lands to the north of the Portage had been thoroughly domesticated, those lands to the south were a completely different story. Here sat a new frontier - almost untouched by the hand of man. There was a good 30 miles of copper bearing lands here - but prospectors had long ago given up on their profitability. Unlike the lodes to the north which lurked near the surface, these southern lodes were buried deeper in the earth covered by a thick layer of overburden. This overburden - copper barren rock and soil - would have to be removed before any copper could be found. There were far easier prospects to the north to be had.

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CC Explorer – The Early Months

As you all have no doubt read by now, today marks the 365th day of Copper Country Explorer. To mark this important milestone, today I thought I'd take a little trip back over the year and provide some behind-the-scenes insight into the explorations taken and sights seen along the way. This site is a combination of a lot of trial and error, and today I'll let you in on a little bit of that process - as interesting as that could possible be.

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A Year of Explorer

I decided to take a time out from the normal routine of this site to mark a milestone. Tomorrow marks the 365th day of my daily exploration into the Copper Country, a milestone I owe mostly to you - my readers. It was July 31 of last year that I posted my first first journal entry, an inquisitive look at a series of ruins at Osceola that I thought might have been the Osceola Depot (It wasn't by the way).

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