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’.