Tag Archives: Stamp Sand

A Legacy Less Celebrated

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Its been over half a century since copper mining was active in the Keweenaw, a timespan that tends to smooth over rough edges and gleam over blemishes. The industrial empire that once dominated the peninsula’s landscape has since been reduced to ruin and memory, existing only in old photos of …

The Beach

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Though rough going, our laborous hike through thick thick underbrush along shore rewarded us brilliantly as we broke through into the open and found ourselves looking out across the shimmering blue waters of Lake Superior and the soaring red-stained cliffs embracing us on either side. Here on the beach the …

The Isle Royale Dock

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The growth and development of many communities up and down the Keweenaw was molded by the success or failure of an adjacent mine. For Calumet it was the massively successful C&H that pulled their strings. For Hancock it was the Quincy. For Houghton it would be the Isle Royale. Though …

The Evolution of Torch Lake

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Recently I received in my inbox a very interesting USGS aerial photo from 1955 featuring the southern end of Torch Lake. What made this photo so interesting was not so much when it was taken, but what it captured – dredges. In fact it captures all three – one from …

Crates in the Sand

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Making our way from the sunken dredge we embarked on a long journey across the Quincy stamp sands towards the Reclamation Plant. Like most other sand deposits in the region these have been recently “rehabilitated” by the government – essentially covering the sands with dirt and planting various types of …

Keweenaw Sands Redux

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As some of you might have noticed the posts here on CCE have slowed down dramatically and have been sporadic at best. The reason for this is the amount of time I have been devoting to those historic maps I’ve mentioned in the past. In the process of my research …

A Mill at Delaware

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The Delaware Mine is the mine of a thousand faces, having a long and sordid history under the guise of several different names and owners. Over the years the mine has been under the corporate umbrella of several companies including the Pennsylvania, Conglomerate, Northwest, and Lac La Belle. With each …

A Tale of Two Launders

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After scaling the stamp sand cliffs along the shore, we found ourselves standing on the lip of a vast barren landscape known as the Gay Sands. Of course we have been to these sands before, but each time their vast size and scope never fail to impress us. In the …

Yet Another Beach Stroll

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Along the Keweenaw the big lake encounters one of four basic types of topography along the shore. The most common is one dominated by large rocky outcroppings consisting of basalt (either Copper Harbor Conglomerate or Portage Lake Volcanic). Second is the cobblestone variety, consisting of a beach of small to …

Keweenaw Sands (p3)

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The steam stamp technology that helped propel an industry into profitable territory required large amounts of water to function – somewhere in the vicinity of millions of gallons a day. This forced more modern mines to place their mills near the only sources of water large enough to supply these …

Keweenaw Sands (p2)

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A look at the early Frankling and Pewabic stamp mills along Portage Lake Exactly where a mine built its stamp mill was determined by three main factors: availability of water, room for the disposal of tailings, and proximity to the mine itself. For those mines sprouting up along the steep …

Keweenaw Sands (p1)

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The Isle Royale stamp sands (lower right), as seen in 1940 from the air. Mining is not the most environmentally friendly industry (and let’s face it, what industry really is?), and the scars it leaves on the landscape often outlast by generations those mines and mine managers that were responsible …

Red Sands

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It was 1869 that the Allouez Mine began operations atop Bumbletown Hill, sinking a trio of shafts into what would become known as the Allouez Conglomerate bed. With the mine came a need for a mill, and the company turned to the nearest source of water it could find: the …

Sands in the Wilderness

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When mines decided where to place their stamp mills they considered three important factors: a constant supply of water; a large dumping ground for tailings; and the proximity to the mine itself. For the majority of mines up the hill from Torch Lake or the Portage Lake, the decision was …

Copper Country Scrapbook II

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vacation time at Copper Country Explorer Before getting to the Scrapbook for today, I have an announcement for all my loyal readers (and those finding this site for the first time). Starting today Copper Country Explorer is on an indefinite hiatus. For the time being at least I can no …

From Marsh to Sands

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the coarse and dark sands at Copper Falls Walking out on the sands at Copper Falls quickly became a surreal experience. The sands spread outwards in all directions, drifting off into the forest surrounding us. These sands were more coarse and darker then the sand found at the Mohawk mill. …

Beach without a Lake

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from a high bluff, the stamp sands from the Copper Falls Mine seem to engulf the forest Taking the old two-track from Eagle Harbor southward brings you through a Christmas scented forest carpeted by ferns and tanned pine needles. Fall had arrived to the Copper Country by the time we …

Along the Shore

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Dropping down from the launder, we make our way down the cliff face to the stamp sand beach at its base. North of here the stamp sand beach seems to stop, and instead the usual rocky Superior shore emerges. To the south, however, lies a different world. As far as …

The Tunnel

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The great expanse of stamp sands we currently were standing on, all originated from the Mohawk mill behind us. The water/stamp sand solution that exited the stamp mill was carried by water chutes (called launders) to the lake’s edge where they were dumped. Over time, the stamp sands would fill …

The Barren Beach

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It is a strangely off-worldly experience to step out from the stamp mill ruins and onto the barren landscape of the sands. Gazing out across its desolate expanse stretching towards the horizon, you can’t help but feel as if you are standing on another planet. In the far distance we …