Osceola Mine

The Osceola Mine was an attempt to pillage the southern extension of the Calumet Conglomerate Lode which C&H had so profitably exploited for itself. Unfortunately the section of the lode along the Osceola property was extremely poor. As luck would have it, however, the company discovered another lode nearby that proved to be almost equally valuable. This lode was the Osceola Amygdaloid and it would end up securing the Osceola’s place as one of the most successful mines in the Copper Country.

The Osceola’s great success, however, would be forever marred by the largest mining disaster ever to strike the Copper Country. It was a September morning in 1895 when fire broke out underground along the 27th level. The fire spread quickly and soon make its way up the wood-lined No. 3 shaft. The word went out to evacuate the mine but most miners ignored the warning. They felt that the chance of the fire spreading outside of the framed shaft was low and as the No. 3 was an up-cast shaft smoke from the fire would be drawn harmlessly out of the mine.

Unfortunately the heavy smoke managed to make its way through drifts and stopes to the nearby No. 4 shaft – which was downcast. Smoke from the fire was drawn back down into the mine and quickly overcame all those who stayed behind. In the end, 30 workers lost their lives, including four boys and a mine captain.

The Opechee

featured

According to legend, the Robin was a bird in search of purpose who found his calling in his unique ability to sense the approach of spring. As the robin arrived the rest of the bird kingdom would soon follow, secure in the knowledge that springs bounty was soon upon them. …

Osceola No. 3

featured

remains of No. 3 at Osceola The fire at Osceola No. 3 may of been devastating to workers, but it did little to halt the shafts march of profitability for the next 30 years. The shaft, along with the rest of the lode was finally shut down by C&H in …

Legacy of Fire

featured

the productive Osceola Mine, famous not for profit but for disaster The Osceola Mine was one of the more productive and profitable mines along the Keweenaw Peninsula, mined for over 30 years without prolonged cessation. During that time it produced over 190 million pounds of copper and paid dividends to …

The #5 Hoist Building

featured

Scattered along the remnants are metal posts – some twisted and bent – that once held machinery. These had been cut clean off with a blow torch by the scrap hunters that had robbed this area of machinery after the mines closed. A delicate brick ledge, perhaps used to support …

Anatomy of a Hoist

featured

What we found in the woods along Tecumseh road is a common ruin we encounter on our explorations of the Copper Country. Copper mining had grown far past it’s infancy by the time the lake mines began production, and the technology and methodology of copper mining had standardized across all …

The Second Hoist

featured

The second hoist building ( or so we had called it ) was similar in form to the structure we had encountered earlier – only on a more grand scale. This building was easily twice as large as the other – the “H” shaped foundation of red brick was a …

Another Pile of Rock

featured

We moved past the possible #4 engine house, and moved further down Tecumseh Road. Knowing that mine shafts usually follow a line, we figured another mine should be close by. After walking a good distance and finding nothing we decided to turn around and head back to the main rail …

Ruin on Tecumseh

featured

we take a closer look at the ruins along the road Tecumseh road is one of those old and forgotten roads in the Keweenaw. Once, in its youth, the road served an important role in taking travelers between the shafts of the Osceola, out to the town of Tecumseh, and …

Shaft Countin’

featured

How do you find an abandoned copper mine? You look for the poor rock pile of course. Like we did here in Osceola, coming across a poor rock pile is a good sign that further ruins are nearby. Keweenaw mine companies didn’t waste any time or money in the removing …

A Pile of Rock

featured

After a short stop at what we thought was the Osceola depot, we continued on down the line. Soon we found ourselves in the shadow of two large piles of rock on either side of the trail. It was poor rock, waste material from the underground that was hauled to …

A Train Depot

featured

If, a century ago, you were to leave Calumet for points further south you would hop a train at the Mineral Range Depot on Oak Street and ride the line south towards Hancock. After passing Swedetown on your right and traveling over a small lake, you would find yourself moving …