The Champion Mine began operations at the dawn of the 20th century, sinking four shafts along the southern end of the copper-rich Baltic Lode. The mine was a success and would become one of the region’s longest operating producers, extracting ... More »
the last shafthouse standing Once she was one of dozens, scattered up and down the spine of the Keweenaw. They were symbols of a prosperous land, tamed and civilized by its industrious hand. They repr...
a pillar of concrete peaks out of the trees signaling the location of Champion #2, or “C” shaft Leaving the steam pipes behind and walking out of the trees we found ourselves standing belo...
We haven’t yet come across too many ruins of oil houses in our explorations. I’m not sure why that is. Oil was used as a lubricant in almost all machines and equipment used at the mine, an...
When it comes to the grand buildings of the old empire, very few have managed to survive intact to this day. This is especially true when it comes to any building that once housed any type of steam po...
In the beginning the Champion Mine was built not unlike most mines of the time – in distinct slices centered around each shaft. Infrastructure such as boilers, hoisting engines, and compressors were scattered all across the property, with each shaft ... More »
The Champion Mine was one of the longest operating mines of the old empire, and was one of the last to close its doors for good. It was started in 1899 as a joint venture between the Copper Range Company ... More »
When the Copper Range railroad first blazed its right-of-way through the southern range its route was far to the west of where the region’s main population centers are now located. That’s because at the time of its construction, the only ... More »
After the discovery of the great southern copper lode – the Baltic – companies rushed into the once remote and undeveloped region to cash in on the newly discovered riches. One of those pioneers wast the Champion, first established in ... More »
From where it stood, the Champion hoist we were looking at appeared out of place with the rest of the mine’s surface plant. Its location along the road put it almost smack dab in the middle from the C and ... More »
When it comes to the grand buildings of the old empire, very few have managed to survive intact to this day. This is especially true when it comes to any building that once housed any type of steam powered equipment ... More »
In what has become a trend as of late, the Champion Mine had not just one powder house to store its explosives, but in fact had two placed no more then a few hundred feet of each other. While the ... More »
I have heard many rumors about the Champion’s powder house and its apparent “in plain sight” location that manages still to keep its location quite secret. After some more specific information from a local resident in the know, I finally ... More »
Yesterday we gave you a sneak peak inside the Champion No. 4 shafthouse in the form of a large panoramic image taken on it’s rockhouse level. Today we continue that peek inside with a few more hard-to-find images. Champion No. ... More »
As we wrap up our exploration of the Champion Mine, a few last things to take a look at. One of them is this old concrete trestle, which runs behind the No. 4 Hoist building. The once held the Copper ... More »
As we have seen time and time again, copper country engine houses and the foundations that remain share very similar. Looking at what remains at the No. 4 hoist today, we can clearly see evidence of the hoist engine that ... More »
As we take a walk behind the old hoist building and underneath the concrete trestle atop which the main line for the Copper Range Railroad once ran, we find ourselves in view of a large ruin just up the hill. ... More »
The No. 4, like all shafts of the Champion Mine, were serviced by two hoists during it’s lifetime. As the shafts became deeper, larger and more capable hoists were needed. The hoist building that currently stands at the No. 4 ... More »
keeping the Champion Mine safe from fire… Most of the time at Explorer we deal with “the big three” when it comes to ruins: the shaft house, the rock house (sometimes combined), and the engine house. Lately we have become ... More »
We haven’t yet come across too many ruins of oil houses in our explorations. I’m not sure why that is. Oil was used as a lubricant in almost all machines and equipment used at the mine, and was essential to ... More »
the no. 4 (e shaft) while still in operation The Champion Mine, and specifically the No. 4, was Copper Range’s last hope. As the other mines in the companies arsenal closed one by one and the shafts of the Champion ... More »
The “E” shaft was built originally in 1902, making it the oldest shaft house still standing in the Keweenaw beating the Quincy #2′s steel shafthouse by five years. But unlike Quincy which saw steadied improvements in technology and procedure over ... More »
the last shafthouse standing Once she was one of dozens, scattered up and down the spine of the Keweenaw. They were symbols of a prosperous land, tamed and civilized by its industrious hand. They represented the great copper empire that ... More »
there’s something real familiar about this…. Lately I have had a strange sense of familiarity fall over me during my excursions. Hoist foundations, old buildings, shafts; they have all started to look the same to me as if I’m just ... More »
the Copper Range RR main line – now a snowmobile trail – runs past the platform to the old depot that once served Painesdale Today’s Copper Country relies on the highway to connect it to the outside world and to ... More »
a pillar of concrete peaks out of the trees signaling the location of Champion #2, or “C” shaft Leaving the steam pipes behind and walking out of the trees we found ourselves standing below the high tower of another shaft ... More »
Sitting just outside of “C” shaft along a overgrown ridge lies this interesting discovery. It looked to be a large pipe suspended up in the air by a series of metal frames. Upon closer inspection we found out that it ... More »
the still grand looking front entrance to the Champion Dry – over a century past its prime It was an amazing site – that first glimpse of the dry house sitting up on the hillside. Mostly engulfed by trees and ... More »
the stone walls of the Champion’s Dry House Before the advent of air-powered drills, mining was a much more laborious and physically demanding job. (although even with the modern drills it was no walk in the park). Using heavy sledgehammers, ... More »