Quincy Mine

“One of the most celebrated and successful mines along the Keweenaw was “old reliable” atop Quincy hill. For almost a century and a half the mine produced 1.5 billion pounds of copper and paid its shareholders over 30 million dollars in dividends. But the mine’s reputation today ignores its very precarious and troubled beginnings. While the mine was established in 1846 – one of the Keweenaw’s earliest – it wouldn’t make a profit or pay a single dividend until almost 20 years later. Its early troubles stemmed from the lode Quincy first worked – the stubborn Quincy Lode. Although initially promising, the lode proved to be nothing but and mired the company in failure for decades. It wasn’t until the highly rich Pewabic lode was discovered nearby (around 1857) that the mine began to show promise. The rest is history.”

The Quincy Method (p4)

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As we’ve explored the soaring frame of the Quincy No.2 Shaft / Rockhouse we’ve largely concentrated our efforts on the rock handling components of the grand structure. Yet as its name implies the building has a secondary purpose as well, something a bit less extravagant as rock handling but important none-the-less. …

The Quincy Method (p3)

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Mining at its most basic level is nothing more than an exercise in transporting rock from one point to another. This process begins underground soon after the rock is blasted free from its subterrarian home as it is loaded into tram cars for transportation towards the nearest shaft. There it is transferred into skips …

The Quincy Method (p2)

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The Quincy Mine’s first foray into placing a rockhouse into its shafthouse was at the old Pewabic No.6, a shaft Quincy had acquired when it purchased its old neighbor in 1891. Known as the “North Quincy”, this shaft was far removed from the rest of the mine’s surface plant including its …

The Quincy Method (p1)

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In its infancy, copper mining in the Keweenaw was an especially labor intensive enterprise. In its most simplest form, mining was nothing more then hole digging and with little technological assistance available at the time those holes were dug primarily with men with shovels and wheelbarrows. When rock was encountered the shovels gave …

The Life and Times of Quincy No.2

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She came into this world in 1856, offspring to a struggling mine trying desperately to make ends meet. She was a twin, her sister next door erected the same year. She wasn’t the mine’s first, and despite her name wasn’t its second either. The Quincy Mine at the time already …

Anatomy of a Boiler House (p2)

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When we last left out unsung hero of the steam age we had finished exploring one of the building’s four main building blocks. While the design, layout, and equipment used within boiler houses varied, all catered to these basic components of steam production in one way or another. Essentially these components boil …

Anatomy of a Boiler House (p1)

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In the twilight years of the Victorian Age the great industrial revolution had given birth to some of the largest and most impressive steam powered engines the world had ever seen.  These monstrous machines could haul thousands of tons of freight by rail, cross the Atlantic in days, power cities, and haul rock from …

Lost and Forgotten

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They stand silent and empty, sprinkled across a windswept field like discarded weapons from a war fought and lost long ago.  Yet these rotting hulks of iron and wood fought no battles and served no army. Instead these forsaken conscripts toiled in the service of industry, serving an empire ruled by copper. While today these machines may …

A Quincy Enigma

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Found in the shadow of the great Quincy No.2 shaft/rock house was this interesting wooden artifact partially obscured by a small evergreen tree. At first glance it looked to be some type of wooden pipe, leading out from the old sandstone supply house. But surely that cannot be the case, …

The Quincy Pump House

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This rather handsome small sandstone building along Hancock’s waterfront appears at first glance to be an old garage, one recently converted into a motor sports business. That assessment would be partially correct, considering the building’s previous tenant was indeed an auto garage. The building served as a gas station for …

A Fallen Stack

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With the hoist and compressor foundations thoroughly investigated, we turned our attention to find the source of their energy – the boiler house. Old Sanborn maps show the boiler houses to be attached to the rear of the hoist/compressor complex, so we took a walk around the building to take …

To All the Hoists I’ve Known Before

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Me and hoist foundations go way back. I can still remember my first – it was a rather small red-brick beauty hiding away in brush along Tecumseh Road. Her name was Osceola No. 4, and her signature “H” figure is something I’ll never be able to forget. From that point …

Mesnard Compressor House

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After yesterday’s first post on our Mesnard exploration, readers pointed out the existence of a large group of ruins sitting just behind the modern structures we had featured. I had noticed those same ruins on aerial images myself (highlighted on the image above) before heading out on the trail, and …

A Modern Mesnard

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After Quincy bought up the defunct Mesnard Mine in 1896 it re-opened one of its original shafts, which became Quincy No. 8. Quincy then erected atop of it a modern shaft-rock-house – but not as modern as the one that currently stands there today. The iron head-frame that stands over …

Along the Old Pewabic (p3)

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Before the acquisition of the Pewabic Mine, Quincy operated only two shafts set only a few hundred feet apart. Because of this they only needed one centralized dry house to service both. The system worked wonderfully for years until Quincy opened their No. 6 shaft along the old Pewabic property. …

Along the Old Pewabic (p2)

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When Quincy acquired the Pewabic Mine it inherited an obsolete and dilapidated surface plant consisting of an old shaft/rock house, hoist house, a few carpentry shops and a boiler house. Quincy re-used as much as they could, but a few new buildings had be built for its new No. 6 …

Along the Old Pewabic (p1)

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If it wasn’t for the discovery of the Pewabic Lode by Quincy’s northern neighbor, “old reliable” may have never survived its misfortunes along the Quincy Lode. It didn’t take Quincy long to find the Pewabic’s extension onto its property and begin sinking shafts to exploit it. But while the Pewabic …

Of Rock and Sandstone…

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Out of the four main components of any mine (rock-house, shaft-house, hoist house, boiler house) the boiler house has by far been the most elusive to photograph. For a time we hadn’t come across the remains of a single one, until our discovery at North Kearsarge introduced us to these …

The Quincy Shafts

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For most mines along the Keweenaw shaft numbering was simple. The first shaft you sunk was the No. 1. Every shaft after that was named sequentially – working your way along the lode. Going from north to south, or vice versa, you would have the No.1, followed by the No. …

Quincy No. 4

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For most of Quincy’s early history the vast majority of its production came out of only two shafts – the NO. 2 and NO. 4. While it had originally opened up nine shafts along the copper-rich Pewabic lode, most were abandoned rather quickly once poorer ground was discovered. Because of …

No. 4 Boiler House (and Man-shaft)

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Before the acquisition of the Pewabic Mine (which became North Quincy), the Quincy Mine consisted of a total of nine shafts. As time progressed and technology improved Quincy closed down most of these shafts and concentrated its efforts on only three: the no. 2, no. 4, and no. 7. In …

A Quincy Dry (p2)

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Attached to the south end of the dry house was a second much larger building. If it wasn’t in ruin it would appear to be simply part of the rest of the structure, but in it’s current state you could see that the attached structure had a second floor (or …

A Quincy Dry House (p1)

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One of the most celebrated and successful mines along the Keweenaw was “old reliable” atop Quincy hill. For almost a century and a half the mine produced 1.5 billion pounds of copper and paid its shareholders over 30 million dollars in dividends. But the mine’s reputation today ignores its very …