• Anatomy of a Steel Dam (p3)

    Anatomy of a Steel Dam (p3)

    As you progress along the foundation of the Redridge Dam, you drop level after level via a series of concrete staircases built into the floor. It’s about 30 feet from the gorge rim where the dam...

  • Anatomy of a Steel Dam (p1)

    Anatomy of a Steel Dam (p1)

    Steel dam construction was flirted with only temporarily at the turn of the century, a time which the Redridge Dam owes for its existence. By 1900 the wood crib dam that had been built on the Salmon T...

  • Smelter Tech: The Reverberatory Furnace

    Smelter Tech: The Reverberatory Furnace

    The copper that arrived to the smelter was anywhere from 70 to 90 percent pure. Due to the unique nature of Lake Superior copper, most of those impurities manifested themselves as pieces of foreign ro...

  • Anatomy of a Hoist

    Anatomy of a Hoist

    What we found in the woods along Tecumseh road is a common ruin we encounter on our explorations of the Copper Country. Copper mining had grown far past it’s infancy by the time the lake mines began p...

CC Anatomy

“The majority of CCE takes a look at what remains of the vast industrial empire that once called the Copper Country home, remembering the past through the ghostly images of those ruins that still haunt the landscape today. But without knowing what purpose ruins once served were or the reasoning for their existence CCE is nothing more then a daily journal of pretty pictures. Our Copper Country Anatomy series attempts to remedy that situation, by presenting an in-depth look at the technology and infrastructure that was an integral part of the peninsula’s copper empire. These posts explain the how and the why, and present a window into the past that simple pretty pictures of ruins cannot do on their own. “

Mine Machines: Air Compressors


Before the application of electric generation to the Copper Country landscape, all of a mine’s mechanical power was only obtainable from steam. While this form of power was convenient for a mine’s surface plant where large boiler houses and smokestacks ... More »

Anatomy of a Mill (Jigs)


A long line of refining jigs at the Quincy Mill After leaving the final stages of the sizing process, the copper ore that entered the mill as pieces of rock have been reduced to a coarse gravel and mixed with ... More »

Anatomy of a Mill (Final Sizing)


The process of ore production neither begins or ends at the stamp mill, but instead stretches from the dark drifts of the underground right up to the smelter docks. This process consists of three main stages: sizing and sorting, separation, ... More »

Last Stamp Standing


&oiDuring the Copper Empire’s peak, over 100 steam stamps were in operation across the peninsula. As mines and their mills succumbed, these massive stamps were quickly sold or scrapped for quick cash. With the arrival of the Second World War ... More »

Copper Country Stacks


The prevalent use of steam power for most of the Copper Country’s history meant the need for a boiler house to provide that steam. That in turn meant the presence of a smokestack. Up until the installation of electric hoists ... More »

Surface Plant


part of the collection of buildings that make up Quincy’s surface plant A mine itself is only a collection of tunnels underground, connected in a honeycomb maze of drifts and shafts. (see “Anatomy of the Underground”) From the surface the ... More »



a rare brick structure in the Copper Country. This one belongs to the Atlas Powder Company, at Senter. When mines were first built along the Keweenaw it was done with materials that could be commonly found within the Peninsula itself. ... More »

Crushing and Sorting


Mining is simple. You drill holes into rock, you stuff explosives in those holes, and you blow the rock up into smaller pieces. From that point on everything at a mine – people, machines, buildings, and railroads – all work ... More »