The Baltic Mine’s discovery of a highly rich copper lode along the southern range prompted an avalanche of prospectors and companies descending upon the region to claim their own piece of the Baltic prize. One of the first to do so was a small start-up company known predominantly for its nearby railroad – the Copper Range. Working in partnership with the St. Mary’s Land Company – which already had control of a great deal of southern range land – the two opened up a small mine along a section of lode a mile south of the Baltic Mine’s rich outcroppings. This small mine was known as the Champion, and over the next 60 years would grow to become the region’s predominate copper producer.
It was in 1899 that Michigan’s former state geologist and subsequent Copper Range employee L.L. Hubbard first discovered the Baltic Lode along the Champion property by means of a shallow exploration trench. Within the next three years the company worked feverishly to establish a set of four shafts – labeled alphabetically from north to south – to exploit the lode. The mine’s third shaft would end up being sunk just south of that first exploration pit dug by Hubbard years earlier. The shaft would continue to produce copper for the next 40 years, closing down for good at the end of the Second World War but not before reaching a depth of over 2300 feet.
The Copper Range Consolidated Company, under the direction of John Stanton and William Paine (of Paine & Webber fame), had gained majority ownership of a series of mining interests along the southern range including three mines, a smelter, and a railroad. One of those mines was the Champion sitting on the end of the Baltic lode. While the other mines along the lode managed operations only into the 30′s, the Champion continued to be mined right up to the end – September of 1967.”