The Keweenaw Peninsula is home to one of the largest deposits of native copper to be found anywhere in the world. For centuries the native peoples of this region mined the red metal by means of shallow hand-dug pits, fashioning the copper into tools and jewelry. When European settlers began to arrive to the area in the early 1800’s they too quickly discovered the vast copper riches found in the area, most notably in the form of a giant copper boulder found along the banks of the Ontonagon River.

With the peninsula’s acquisition by the fledging state of Michigan in the middle of the century, state geologist Douglass Houghton – who had seen the great Ontonagon boulder first hand – was dispatched to discover the true nature of the copper riches the state had apparently inherited. Mr. Houghton’s cautious but optimistic report would precipitate a massive rush of prospectors and investors to the peninsula. The confluence of mine companies that would soon set up shop up and down the Keweenaw’s rugged hills and valleys would give birth to the region’s alter ego: The Copper Country.

Back to top button