If any Copper Country mine company could be considered on par with the size and scope of the great C&H it would be the Copper Range. By 1920 the company had controlling interest in almost the entire southern range, including four mines, five mills, nine towns, a smelter, 70 miles of railroad, and thousands of acres of timberland. At the center of this sprawling empire stood the town where it all began – Painesdale.

Named after Copper Range’s chief investor and superintendent – William Paine – the town of Painesdale served as the home to the company’s corporate headquarters. Residing in the small community were both the Copper Range Offices as well as the Superintendent’s Residence. The town was also home to the Copper Range’s first mine opened along the range – the Champion. Due to Painesdale’s important stature, the town received a greater share of the company’s paternalist offerings including a spectacular sandstone school building and beautifully adorned public library and bathhouse.

The Mining Camp – (p5)


Before 1900 it was nothing but a thick forest overlooking the Pilgrim Valley, but in just a few short years that forest would be transformed into a thriving and growing community of over a thousand people. At the far southern end of the Keweenaw’s copper range, the beurgening  mining town was …

The Mining Camp (p4)


The Champion Mine’s remote location brought with it many challenges when it came to building a community for its workforce. While many other mining locations northward were often a short trolley ride  from a major commercial center such as Hancock or Calumet, Painesdale was not nearly so lucky. At the time …

The Mining Camp (p3)


With a vested interest in nurturing a higher calibre of worker, mine companies like Copper Range actively supported institutions that did the same – places like churches and fraternal organizations that worked to instill a strong moral and civic duty in its participants. Yet mine companies didn’t stop at just nurturing …

The Mining Camp (p2)


As the Champion Mine prospered, scores of immigrants began moving into the houses built for them by the mine company. These immigrants came from a wide variety of countries, and brought with them their own cultures, traditions, and religious practices to the growing community.  In short order like-minded groups joined together …

The Mining Camp (p1)


For decades the great Copper Rush stayed clear of the rugged hills lying just south of the Portage Valley, the only incursion of note being the Atlantic in 1872. It wasn’t until nearly a quarter century later the area’s true copper potential would be realized with the discovery of the Baltic …

Scrapbook Fridays: Public Square Edition


When William Paine established the Champion Mine’s mining community – named after himself of course – he envisioned a large central square around which the company’s paternalistic contributions to the community could be built. These monuments included the mine built grade school, library, high school and school superintendents house. The …