Winona

It was 1862 when Joel Tresider first discovered a remote copper-bearing lode in southern Houghton County, and April 15th, 1864, when the Winona Copper Co. was formed to mine it. This company was never successful in the 19th Century, enduring a cycle of exploration and abandonment. The great financier John Stanton, who took interest and reorganized the company on November 3rd, 1898, changed the mine’s fortunes just in time for the 20th Century. This was the beginning of the Winona mine depicted in these next few posts, the largest low-grade exploration in the Keweenaw, which for two decades earned just enough profit to stay alive while living beyond its means the entire time.

The company would eventually control 6 shafts. The northernmost, #1 and #2, were the workings of the 19th Century Winona, and were worked only between 1898 and 1906. Shafts #3 and #4, begun in 1903 and 1906 respectively, became the mine’s main working shafts for the duration of its life. The overbearing steel rockhouses which topped both shafts betray the fact that they were not very rich in copper, but just rich enough to offset the mine’s expenses. In 1911, when the Winona absorbed the neighboring King Philip Copper Co., they inherited their southernmost shafts, King Philip #1 and #2. Though their infrastructure would never be as grand or permanent as their neighbors, these shafts were worked just as hard. King Philip #2 even holds the honor of being the last shaft worked by the Winona Copper Co., when its smaller plant could be operated more affordably than its extravagant neighbors’.

The Winona Mine (p5)

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The following series is written, photographed, and illustrated by long time CCE reader and fellow Copper Country Explorer Ian Tomashik. Thank you Ian! By 1909, the Winona mine looked much as it does in the above photo (Click on the image to view full size), taken from the top of …

The Winona Mine (p4)

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The following series is written, photographed, and illustrated by long time CCE reader and fellow Copper Country Explorer Ian Tomashik. Thank you Ian! My exploration of Winona #4 was a far different experience. My visit to shaft #3 turned into a scientific investigation, while my visit to shaft #4 was …

The Winona Mine (p3)

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The following series is written, photographed, and illustrated by long time CCE reader and fellow Copper Country Explorer Ian Tomashik. Thank you Ian! The Winona mine, to accommodate its religious reliance on electric machinery, erected a massive engine house near shaft #3 to house several generators and the mine’s compressor. …

The Winona Mine (p2)

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The following series is written, photographed, and illustrated by long time CCE reader and fellow Copper Country Explorer Ian Tomashik. Thank you Ian! I began my Winona exploration at shaft #3, the easternmost, mainly because it was close to the main road through Winona Loc. and easiest to access. I …

The Winona Mine (p1)

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After our introduction to the town of Winona courtesy fellow CC explorer Jim Fruehauf, we now delve even deeper into the region and its history thanks to another long time reader and CC enthusiast – Ian Tomashik. Ian has contributed to CCE many times before, including a lengthy write-up of the Hancock Mine as well as …

Lost But Not Forgotten

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Several years back I received in the mail a package containing a collection of photos, real photos on real photo paper complete with the negatives neatly sealed in little bags. On the back of the photos were hand-written notes detailing the exploration of an old mining town that today has largely …