South RangeCopper Country Heritage Guide - Locations
It was the towering peak rising up over the highlands south of the Portage – known today as Whealkate Mountain – that first attracted attention to the Keweenaw’s southern range. Prospectors theorized the mountain’s existence was due to a copper rich interior immune to the glacier action witch ground down the surrounding landscape. The first mine to test this theory would be the Wheal Kate, which opened a shaft along the mountain’s slopes around 1851. It turned out that the mountain was not made of copper after all, and the mine was quickly abandoned. No other attempt would be made along the southern range for over a generation.
It wasn’t until the discovery of the Baltic Lode in 1897 that the region once again attracted attention from mine prospectors. Quickly several mines opened along the newly discovered lode’s length, and the Wheal Kate Mining company was given a second lease on life. With the newly opened Baltic Mine nearby, the old mining company began to sell off its considerable land holdings, platting out the small town of South Range in the process.
Unlike every other community along the southern range, South Range was uniquely independent of any mine company influence. In response the town developed a vibrant commercial district including meeting halls, banks, general stores and several saloons. Helping matters further was the presence of the Copper Range Railroad, along which a small warehouse district developed. Quickly the little town became the most populous in the region, and handily won the role of commercial center of the southern range.
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Baltic Machine Shop
Baltic – The namesake of the highly rich Baltic Lode is marked by a scattering of old ruins including its impressive sandstone machine shop.
Copper Range Depot
South Range – Set within the center of South Range’s commercial district, this small depot was one of the Copper Range Railroads most highly used stations.
South Range – This handsome sandstone building was built in 1910 by the Knights of Kaleva, a Finnish fraternal organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Finnish culture.
Mountain View Cemetery
South Range – Set within the shadow of nearby Whealkate Mountain, this large burial ground caterred to the burgeoning mining towns popping up along the newly opened South Range.
South Range Community Hall
South Range – This sandstone faced community center was built during the Depression as part of a Civil Works Administration work project and features a large auditorium and dance floor.