Sitting on the far eastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula, the small community of Gay was born far outside the influence of the copper empire. Initially a fishing and lumber town, the village eked out an existence from the surrounding forest and the bounty of the sea. But as the lumber and fish became scarce, the town’s days were numbered.

However, in a twist of fate the town was given a reprieve by the Mohawk and Wolverine Mines, who chose the derelict fishing village as the site for their new massive stamp mills. With a new influx of money and workers, the village returned to its former glory. Before long, the town boasted its own school, stores, post office, and community center. But as the Depression arrived to the Copper Country the mills were forced to close, and once again the community was left to lumber and fishing for its livelihood. The railroad continued to serve the town for another few decades, but finally it too pulled up its track and left leaving the town isolated and on its own.

The Gay School (p2)


For the several hundred students who once attended the school in Gay, this would be their first view of their educational day. Morning bell brought kids through this main door, providing egress into the building they would spend the next 8 hours of their day. Though picturesque today, a century ago …

The Gay School (p1)


The extreme remoteness of the Mohawk and Wolverine Mills along the Keweenaw’s South Shore meant that the accompanying village of Gay was a dozen miles of thick forest and sprawling swampland from the rest of the Copper Empire . Such remoteness meant that the village had to be incredibly self-reliant, with …

The Happiest Place on Earth


Before teaming up with William Paine to help form the great Copper Range mining company, John Stanton’s first partner in crime was a fellow New Yorker by the name of Joseph Gay. Together Stanton and Gay were a formidable team, bringing success and profit to a great many Copper Country mines …

The South Shore


fi The great geological upheaval which formed the Keweenaw created a peninsula of two distinct characters. Along its northern edge a ragged and rocky spine rises several hundred feet into the air, a massive outcropping of volcanic rock that is home to the peninsula’s great copper riches. It’s along this rugged spine and the …

Gay Park (p2)


The public land that would become known as Gay Park was donated to the community by the Mohawk and Wolverine Mines, who had commandeered most of the town’s lakefront to build their mills. Set atop a rugged sandstone bluff overlooking Traverse Bay, the location for the new park not only …

Gay Park (p1)


The old mill town of Gay sits alone on the far eastern shore of the peninsula, far removed from the metropolitan centers of the Copper Country. This geographical isolation required the small town to rely on itself for most of the resident’s needs, needs that included a place for weekly …