Champion No. 3

Painesdale | , , ,


The Baltic Mine’s discovery of a highly rich copper lode along the southern range prompted an avalanche of prospectors and companies descending upon the region to claim their own piece of the Baltic prize. One of the first to do so was a small start-up company known predominantly for its nearby railroad – the Copper Range. Working in partnership with the St. Mary’s Land Company – which already had control of a great deal of southern range land – the two opened up a small mine along a section of lode a mile south of the Baltic Mine’s rich outcroppings. This small mine was known as the Champion, and over the next 60 years would grow to become the region’s predominate copper producer.

It was in 1899 that Michigan’s former state geologist and subsequent Copper Range employee L.L. Hubbard first discovered the Baltic Lode along the Champion property by means of a shallow exploration trench. Within the next three years the company worked feverishly to establish a set of four shafts – labeled alphabetically from north to south – to exploit the lode. The mine’s third shaft would end up being sunk just south of that first exploration pit dug by Hubbard years earlier. The shaft would continue to produce copper for the next 40 years, closing down for good at the end of the Second World War but not before reaching a depth of over 2300 feet.


Champion No. 3 managed to stay intact for another thirty years after its own closure, but finally succumbed to the cutting torch a few years after the Champion’s closed down in 1963. Today only the structure’s massive foundation remains, including a large sandstone wall that once supported several rock bins and a tall concrete pillar that served as a strike plate for the building’s drop hammer found high up in its upper floor.


Public Access

The old ruins are on private property but sit right up next to a public roadway, a route that follows a portion of the original rail spur that once served the shaft.


The ruins of the Champion No.3 sit alongside Second Street, just south-east of Painesdale at the base of the hill. From Houghton follow M26 south for about 9 miles – crossing through the towns of South Range and Trimountain in the process. Upon entering Painesdale continue for eight blocks before turning left onto Kearsarge Street just before M26 curves to the right. Follow this road as it make a sharp turn to the right and down a steep hill. Turn onto the second street on the right (2nd Street), the shaft remains will be on the right side of the road almost immediately.