Trimountain Mill

“By the time the mines of the southern range had come to fruition the convenience of utilizing neighboring Portage Lake for the complimenting mills had become unattainable, thanks to the government’s concern about the navigability of the Portage Canal. Thus the mines of the south were forced to search elsewhere for the large tracts of open land along a lake or other large body of water necessitated by a mill’s design. By the turn of the twentieth century however the pickings were slim, and the mines had to look dozens of miles away towards distant Lake Superior and the red-stained sandstone cliffs of the Keweenaw’s western shore.”

A Trip to the Archives

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Our man on the spot Craig Aldinger brings us another report from the his newly adopted Copper Country home, this time detailing a search for a particular photo of the Trimountain Mill. His report follows, augmented at times by my own comments (noted in italics).  This is what comes of …

The Final Post

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For six years now I’ve been exploring the ruins of old copper stamping mills, and during most of that time those mills have followed very specific and predictable patterns. These ruins were sprawling wastelands of concrete and stamp sand that often dominated the shoreline on which they were located. They …

The Pump House

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While our mystery ruin stood right above us along that stretch of beach, the soaring sandstone cliffs in which is was encased put it out of our immediate reach. We were forced to retrace our steps back to the river mouth and make our way back up to the mill …

The Beach

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Though rough going, our laborous hike through thick thick underbrush along shore rewarded us brilliantly as we broke through into the open and found ourselves looking out across the shimmering blue waters of Lake Superior and the soaring red-stained cliffs embracing us on either side. Here on the beach the …

The Trench

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With the mill ruins behind us, we turned our attention towards the nearby stretch of Lake Superior shore along which the Trimountain Mill stands. Here the shore is rugged and wild, consisting primarily of tall sandstone cliffs that drop precariously down to the lake below. Finding the shore was easy, …

The Next Level

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A typical stamp mill is arranged into three to four distinct section, each separated from the neighboring sections by a terraced level. These sections are characterized by the types of mill machines that reside within them, consisting of either wash tables, roughing jigs, finishing jigs, and the stamps themselves. At …

On the Mill Floor

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While the wood frames we found scattered about the forest floor may or may have not been remnants of the mill’s Wifley tables, the tell-tale terraced foundation we had discovered nearby was definitely a sign we had finally stumbled across the Trimountain Mill itself. Following the step-staired foundation wall northward …

Around the Boiler House

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Standing in the middle of the massive sandstone fortifications surrounding us, we looked for more evidence of the boiler house the once sat atop this spot. Only there was nothing to find. Instead we turned our attention to the new opening in that wall we could see above us. The …

The Great Wall

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So there we were, perched atop a high wall overlooking the forest floor a good dozen feel below us. Considering the coal conveyor led us to this unusual spot we assumed that below us we would find the mill’s boiler house. As to how we were to get down there, …

In the Trenches

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By the time the mines of the southern range had come to fruition the convenience of utilizing neighboring Portage Lake for the complimenting mills had become unattainable, thanks to the government’s concern about the navigability of the Portage Canal. Thus the mines of the south were forced to search elsewhere …

When Trestles Collide

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Having found ourselves the remains of a rather expansive rail bridge in the middle of the woods, we looked for the next logical piece of the puzzle: the rail line itself. Following along with the towering concrete pedestals above our heads, we moved southward and found ourselves scaling a rather …

A Walk Among Giants

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The pine forests of the Keweenaw’s northern extremities fade away as you head southward, slowly transforming into the broad leafed hardwoods that blanket most of the southern range. This has always been my favorite type of forest, with its high broad canopy creating a sort of fairytale cathedral all about …