Mohawk

By 1900 a trio of shaft houses had risen up out of the wilderness marking the Mohawk Mine’s conquest. Along with the mine’s accompanying surface plant, the company also erected nineteen single family homes, a boarding house, and a captain’s residence along a trio of roads just west of the mine site. In the years to follow another 22 homes were added to the mix, the townsite expanding southward alongside the mine’s surface plant. By then the mine had become home to over 600 workers, which combined with the hundreds of workers employed in neighboring mines had risen the town’s population to over a thousand people. The town of Mohawk had been born.

Mohawk’s growth and expansion was quick, due not just to the success of the adjacent mine but also the town’s advantageous location along several major regional transportation routes. By coincidence the town sat just a mile from an important wagon-road running through the center of the peninsula – a state built roadway known as the Mineral Range State Road (Today the old route is followed by Cliff Drive). Better yet the townsite was also connected to the outside world via a major common-carrier railroad – the Hancock & Calumet – which had already been brought to Fulton in order to haul lumber out of the region. In 1900 the mine would further extend those connections thanks to their purchase of the old Hebard Quarry holdings, which in addition to some much needed lakefront property to build their mill on also included a short line railroad connecting Traverse Bay at Gay to a point just a few miles short of Mohawk’s front door. The mine would extend the line to its surface plant, and use it to haul copper out to its new mill. In 1905 a second major railroad would enter the picture – a newly extended Keweenaw Central which would run along the town’s northern edge on its way from Phoenix down to Calumet. Later Mohawk would become the final stop along the peninsula-wide interurban trolley system – the Houghton County Traction Company. Mohawk had become the transportation center of the Copper Empire.

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