Michigan Mine

The great Minesota mine was incredibly rich in copper, so much so that legend has it that one of its shafts had to be driven straight through a piece of mass copper so immense that it could not be removed from the ground (prompting the exclamation that the Minesota’s shafts were in fact lined with copper) Mass pieces of more then 50 tons were rather common, and the mine holds the record for the largest piece every discovered – over 500 tons in size. In the end the Minesota produced nearly 35 million pounds of the red metal, and went down in history as one of the richest mines of the district. Because of this was no surprise when the old mine was re-opened at the turn of the century for another go, this time under the more grammatically correct name of the Michigan.

A Michigan Bat Cage

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The old Michigan Mine property is a literal mine field, encompassing the shafts from not only the Michigan, but also the Minesota, Superior, Rockland, and National Mines as well. In total several dozen old mine shafts are littered across the rugged landscape, creating a rather perilous hike for those unaware …

What Once Was and Remains

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First starting its life as the Minesota in 1848 the mine would start a second life as the Michigan in 1899, finally closing for good by 1920. During that time it managed to leave quite a mark on the bluffs east of the town of Rockland. In addition to the …

The Pit

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While massive hoist buildings are interesting, they are the type of thing we expect to find scattered about a mine site. What we found above, however, are things we don’t normally expect to find in our travels. From afar it looked to be a stone-lined pit dug into the earth, …

Michigan Mine Illustrated

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The Michigan Mine’s large engine complex is a rather complicated structure. From the ground the structure’s remains resemble a barrage of concrete pedestals and walls sprawled out in the woods with no discernible pattern, rhyme, or reason. A good deal of this has to do with the building’s evolution over …

A Hoist of Unknown Origins

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After the oddity that was the “A” hoist down at the west end of the Michigan’s Hoist complex, we were ready to expect about anything as we made our way to the opposite end of the building to check out the “B” hoist which also shared the space. Even then, …

Where Compressed Air Is Made

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Leaving the “A” Hoist behind, we continue further along the Michigan Mine’s sprawling hoist complex and to yet another set of massive concrete foundations. Unlike those found previously, these pedestals most likely belong to a large air compressor. Like a hoist, these machines comprised of two steam cylinders set upon …

The Hoist from Another World

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While last week we may have given the impression that we had stumbled across the Michigan Mine’s hoist complex after exploring its boiler complex, there’s no way that could have happened. The hoist complex was immense, and the concrete wall that made up its southern foundation seemed to stretch on …

More Stacks and Boilers

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While the Minesota Mine may have been a self contained operation, the new Michigan Mine that took its place was not. This new mine was modern in almost every way, including its proclivity towards a modern lakeshore mill to process its ore. This required the services of a railroad, which …

C Shaft Terraces

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After our discovery down at the bast of the hill, it was readily apparent to us that the Michigan Mine’s “C” shaft was something altogether different then anything we have seen before. Instead of just one large rock house/ shaft house structure we were confronted instead with a bizarre world …

Where Man Has Left His Mark

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It didn’t look like much from the old railroad grade, that was for sure. Just a mass of concrete shrouded in the trees alongside the trail. But as we approached the scale of the situation quickly became clear. The closer we got to the concrete monstrosity the small we began …

Boiler House in C

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Approaching the town of Rockland from the east you find yourself traveling between a pair of parallel rugged hills. The hill to the south is marked on maps as South Bluff, while its neighbor to the north was known during the Minesota’s time fittingly as the North Bluff. At the …

The “B” Shaft

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The Minesoata was typical of early fissure copper mines in the region. Scattered and seemingly chaotic, the mine sunk nearly a dozen shafts along its holdings atop the north bluff. With such a rich mine precision and efficiency weren’t so important; when the copper was literally lying about your feet …

A Ruin of Dubious Identity

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Returning from our journey further atop the hill, we made our way back down to the cliff edge to regain our bearings. In doing so we happened across yet another odd ruin perched along the edge of the ridge. While we have had some good ideas as to the identity …

The Bonus Boiler

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It sat just a bit farther into the forest, up atop the slight rise on which the machine shop and dry was perched along. We recognized it right away, though its existence at this location seemed rather odd. It was yet another boiler house. Perhaps more accurately I should say …

Walls and Pedestals

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Leaving the Michigan’s boiler house behind we headed further into the forest to explore what we thought might be one of the mine’s hoist buildings. While it looked promising from afar, the closer we got to those mysterious rock walls the more apparent it became that we weren’t looking at …

High Atop the Cliff

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Leaving the diverter behind, we followed its lead and headed upward to the top of the cliffs high above us. As we climbed we passed a few more remnants of cable stands, concrete footings half buried in the dirt and snow. Encouraged we toiled on, but was soon thwarted by …

A Tip of an Iceberg

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Deep in Ontonagon Country, far from any major town or industrial area lies the isolated and remote town of Rockland. Today the town is nothing more then a rather empty and derelict town, sitting in a picturesque setting along the slopes of a towering ridge line. Though not much today, …