Copper Falls Mill

“Walking out on the sands at Copper Falls quickly became a surreal experience. The sands spread outwards in all directions, drifting off into the forest surrounding us. These sands were more coarse and darker then the sand found at the Mohawk mill. This was probably due to the differences in rock types between the two lodes, as well as the primitive nature of the stamp mill here. While Mohawk was a relatively modern mill (built at the turn of the century) the Copper Falls mill was much older – built around 1860. This 40-year difference in stamp technology was evident in the sands that we now walked.

Soon we found ourselves overlooking a small stream cutting through the center of the sands. This was probably Owl Creek, the same creek used by the mill for water. Somehow it had managed to cut its way through this rocky beach and move on towards the marshland beyond. Its banks and bed were littered with dead tree limbs and trunks – evidence of what once was here before man left the sands in its place. We were sure that a vast marshland once covered the ground here. Year after year the Copper Falls Mill filled the marsh with stamp sands, until before long the marsh was gone.”

Whispers in the Forest

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A walk through the forest is a peaceful stroll. The flutter of leaves high above, the moaning of old and tired tree trunks, and the soothing hush of wind through the canopy tends to drown out the outside world and pacify your attention. Your only distraction is the soothing lullaby of …

Copper Falls Mill Stack

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Deep within a twisted tangle of cedar and spruce bordering Owl Creek can be found this interesting artifact from a more industrious time. It lays broken and scattered within a deep ravine once traverse by an ancient stream. Painted with a deep rust hue, dented and damaged, and overgrown with …

Owl Creek Fissure

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The high rocky ridge that forms the Keweenaw’s “spine” is more segmented and fractured then whole. In places – such as the Allouez Gap – large sections of the spine is missing. In other parts, the spine has simply been broken into pieces by deep and narrow gashes called fissures. …

The Mill Foundation

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The passing of over a century of time can do a lot to cover the ruins of men. Once the Copper Falls Mill sat alone on a deforested hillside. Now a forest has grown up around it, and all that it was has rotted or fallen away. All that is …

Where Once Was a Mill

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a sandstone block sitting alone in the forest The adit here on the side of the hill was only a small part of the Copper Falls operation. The main focus of the company was a series of shafts sunk high atop the hill above us. The adit tunneled here was …

Anatomy of the Underground

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The adit we discovered at Copper Falls in only part of a much larger labyrinth of tunnels and shafts that comprise a Copper Country mine. The copper rich rock that mines sought were localized and concentrated into areas called lodes. Due to the geological forces that shaped the Keweenaw, copper …

Atop an Adit

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Hidden planks in the ground. Were these perhaps remains of a short rail line? Even after 150 years man’s presence remains. By now, however, that presence has managed to blend rather nicely into the forest that surrounds us. Long rusted rods seem to grow like trees among their wooded cousins. …

Copper Falls

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It was obvious that a stamp mill once existed along the edges of these sands. Knowing a thing or two about stamp mills we had an idea of where to look. Stamp Mills relied on two things in order to separate copper: water and gravity. Any stamp mill would be …

From Marsh to Sands

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the coarse and dark sands at Copper Falls Walking out on the sands at Copper Falls quickly became a surreal experience. The sands spread outwards in all directions, drifting off into the forest surrounding us. These sands were more coarse and darker then the sand found at the Mohawk mill. …

Beach without a Lake

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from a high bluff, the stamp sands from the Copper Falls Mine seem to engulf the forest Taking the old two-track from Eagle Harbor southward brings you through a Christmas scented forest carpeted by ferns and tanned pine needles. Fall had arrived to the Copper Country by the time we …