Baltic Mine

For half a century the southern range was virtually ignored as the copper lodes to the north produced the majority of the Keweenaw’s copper and nurtured the regions richest and most powerful mine companies. But even as the great mines to the north tightened their grip of the peninsula’s finite resources, they were letting pass through their fingers an equally rich range of opportunity to the south – the Baltic Lode.

The Baltic Lode was first discovered in 1882, but it would take more than a decade before the first mine arrived to exploit it. That mine was the Baltic, and it sunk its first shaft along the slopes of Six Mile Hill in 1897. Soon that first shaft would be joined by four others and in the process the small community of Baltic would arise in their shadows. In 1917 the mine was bought up by the Copper Range Company, which would go on to take control of the entire southern range as well. During that time the Baltic Mine’s surface plant was modernized and improved, culminating in several large structures including boiler houses, hoist houses, change houses, and a large sandstone and brick machine shop.

Where the Hoist Cable Takes Us

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With the ruins of the old hoist building pointing the way, we headed through the thick woods in as straight of a line as we could in search of the hoist’s shaft. Before long we scrambled up a short embankment and found ourselves crossing an old dirt road. We had …

High Walls and Mandibles

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From the road it doesn’t look like much, its bulk so well hidden in the foliage that it’s easily missed. Its true size and dimension weren’t even that apparent until we were almost right on top of it, its layered facade rising over a story above our heads. The blank wall’s true purpose is not …

Into the Woods

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After leaving the Baltic’s compressor house remains, we found ourselves drawn further into the woods thanks to this large piece of concrete hiding out in the thick foliage. Though at first only its top portion was visible, we could tell almost immediately that we had discovered the remains of one of the mine’s boiler …

Sitting at Arm’s Reach

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The short jaunt between the mining locations of Baltic and Brooklyn takes travelers through the center of the old Baltic Mine itself, a journey that brings one up and close to some of the mine’s old structures still standing alongside the road. Buildings like the Machine Shop and Transformer House are …

A Road Runs Through It

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For decades the Copper Country’s southern range – the rugged highlands south of the Portage Valley – seem to be barren of the great copper riches found along the rest of the peninsula. At first hopes were high as speculators were immediatly attracted to the rocky summit overlooking present day South …

Under a Blanket of Snow

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Before moving on from our winter Baltic excursion I thought that I’d share a few more views of the old mine under a blanket of snow. For the most part winter isn’t the most ideal of seasons to go ruin hunting, but the deep snow and bare trees provide an …

Another House That Baltic Built

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While it was amazing to me that there were in fact two powder houses at the old Baltic mine it was even more incredible to find yet another such structure sitting just a few hundred feet away from the one we had just explored. This third building shared many of …

A House that Baltic Built

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Of all the types of ruins that I stumble across during my travels, perhaps the most impressive have always been the powder house. Built to safely store a mines supply of explosives, these bulky structures often survive relatively intact long after all the rest of a mine’s surface plant has …

A Baltic Powder House

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It was rumored to exists somewhere out by the old Baltic Mine, and it looks like we finally have proof thanks to fellow explorer Jay Wrixon. Its the mines powder house, still in remarkable shape and hidden deep within the fall foliage of the southern range. At first glance its …

Sitting Atop a Rock Pile

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Sitting all alone up there it seems out-of-place and perhaps even lost. But there it was, a concrete footing smack dab in the center of the Baltic No. 2’s massive poor rock pile. Why it was up here we weren’t exactly sure, it was the first time we found anything …

Coal Trestle

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After having taken some time exploring the remains of the Baltic’s compressor and boiler houses, we headed off into the woods to see what else we could uncover. It wasn’t long until we came across a looming concrete wall stretching along the hillside. Sitting about six feet in height, the …

Two Boilers and a Compressor

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As is the case with any copper mine top billing often goes to the stars of the show – the hoist and the shaft. But a mine’s minor players also deserve their due, since they too have had a role in the final production. Two important members of this supporting …

More Tunnels

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The surface plant of a mine is like any other industrial complex in its need for utilities. Besides the usual suspects such as electricity and water, a typical copper mine also required two additional industry-specific resources: steam and compressed air. Steam was used to power the various steam engines scattered …

A Baltic Engine House

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As the newest shaft opened along the Baltic property, the No. 2 benefited from the installation of a modern surface plant including a steam powered Nordberg hoisting engine. The engine here was nothing special, more or less a standard installation for shafts of this era (early 20th century). By this …

The Curious Case of Baltic No. 2

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The first shaft sunk along the Baltic Lode was sunk at the wrong angle, and quickly passed through the lode and into trap rock. It turned out that the Baltic was the steepest lode along the Keweenaw, dropping down into the earth at an angle which was nearly vertical – …

Along the Copper Range at Baltic

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The Baltic Mine first begun its life around 1897, spending two decades as an independent mine before being absorbed by Copper Range in 1917. During that time the mine was served by a branch of the Atlantic and Lake Superior Railroad, which transported the mine’s rock to the nearby Atlantic …

A Baltic Building

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the line of shaft houses which make up the Baltic Mine It was the Baltic Mine that started it all for the great Copper Range. While starting as an independent mine in 1897, the vast share of its stock was quickly gobbled up by the Copper Range Consolidated Company. In …