C&H Mine

Copper Country Heritage Guide - Types

The most prolific and powerful copper mine of its age was born from pure happenstance, thanks to the discovery of an old Native American mining pit by a surveyor working on the new military road being laid from Copper Harbor to Green Bay. That surveyor was a man by the name of Edward Hulbert, who would keep the discovery a secret until hecould gain funding to buy up the surrounding lands. Lucy for Hulbert those lands would happen to lay atop the Keweenaw’s richest copper deposits – the great Calumet Conglomerate Lode.

Hulbert’s first purchases would become the Calumet Mine, and would later be joined a second mine established by Hulbert on lands to the south – the Hecla. But poor management and a lack of experience almost sunk both properties, until Hulbert was replaced by the son of renowned naturalist Lois Agassiz. Mr. Agassiz would quickly turn the stumbling mines around, which would end up paying their first dividends just two years later in 1869. Two years later both mines – along with the neighboring Scott and Portland properties – would be joined to form the Calumet and Hecla Mine.

C&H would take full advantage of the copper rich lode on top of which it was fortunate enough to sit. Agassiz constructed a massive and sprawling surface plant, and more then a dozen shafts were sunk into the Conglomerate Lode. In addition to the Conglomerate, the mine also worked two other neighboring lodes (the Kearsarge and Osceola) and sunk another half dozen shafts on those lodes as well. The mine would build two mills and a smelter complex down the hill on the shore of Torch Lake, connecting those mills to its mine by its own shore line railroad.

The great Conglomerate lode would peter out just before the second world war, and C&H turned its attention after the war to a half dozen properties it had acquired over the years, including mines at Ahmeek, Centennial, and Seneca. It also spent money opening a brand new mine at Kingston, but all these never matched the great success of its old Conglomerate workings. Declining copper prices and raising labor costs would inevitably cause the great mines demise, which finally closed for good in 1968.

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Agassiz House

Calumet – This impressive home erected next door to C&H’s main offices served as a residence for mine president Alexandar Agassiz.

Agassiz Park

Agassiz Park

Calumet – This large park located within Calumet’s business district features a generous supply of open green space along with a sprinkling of picnic tables.

C&H (Osceola) No.13

Calumet – The modern surface plant which adorns this old C&H shaft was part of the company’s last ditch effort to re-open the Osceola lode and discover new caches of copper.

C&H Bath House

Calumet – In addition to its compliment of public baths available to C&H’s employees, this Classic Revival building built in 1910 also housed a 40 foot swimming pool.

C&H Drill House

Calumet – Built originally to maintain and repair C&H’s massive collection of drill bits, this rubble walled building has recently been converted into a curling rink.

C&H General Offices

Calumet – This immaculate crafted stone and brick trimmed building was originally built to house the C&H Mine’s general offices but today is home to the Keweenaw National Historic Park.

C&H Machine Shop

Calumet – This massive stone building once housed C&H’s sprawling machine shop, where mechanics would repair and maintain the company’s diverse assortment of mechanical equipment.

C&H Mine Captain’s Office

Calumet – This petite stone building once housed the office and private change room for the one of C&H’s mine captains, who were responsible for managing the day to day operations within the mine.

C&H Pattern Shop

Calumet – C&H’s metal fabrication needs were met by its own in-house casting house, and the patterns for those casts were assembled here in the pattern shop. Today the old pattern shop is home to the Coppertown USA mining museum.

C&H Pay Office

C&H Pay Office

Lake Linden – Along with its massive stamp mill complex C&H erected this simple brick building to provide administrative space for the mills as well as its pay office.

C&H Powder House

Calumet – This small stone building was originally built to store black powder for the neighboring Calumet Mine – a predecessor to C&H. Later the thick-walled structure was converted into a general storage building.

C&H Power House

C&H Power House

Lake Linden – Producing some 8000 KW’s of power, this electric generating plant provided electricity to not only C&H’s massive mill complex, but also the mine itself some six miles away.

C&H Public Library

Calumet – The C&H Mine built this impressive stone building to house a well-stocked public library and bathhouse for use by its employees and their families.

C&H Roundhouse

Calumet – This massive stone roundhouse served C&H’s own short line railroad and features 15 locomotive stalls along with three additional maintenance bays.

C&H Smelter

Hubbell – Only the richest copper mines could afford their own smelter and C&H’s economic prowess enabled its erection of the region’s largest. Today only a handful of the sites original compliment of buildings remain, including the electrolytic plant and mineral house.

C&H Stamp Mills

C&H Stamp Mills

Lake Linden – The C&H Stamp Mill complex was actually three mills in one: one mill for the Calumet Mine, one for the Hecla, and a reclamation plant to reprocess the tailings from both.

C&H Trestle

Calumet – This small trestle carried the C&H Railroad’s Red Jacket spur over the Mineral Range Railroad’s main line.

C&H Warehouse No.1

Calumet – Served by a dedicated rail spur along its north west face, this massive brick structure was built to house supplies for the burgeoning C&H Mine. Today it continues to be used for storage, but under the stewardship of the national park.

C&H Warehouse No.2

Calumet – As C&H grew by leaps and bounds it quickly became clear that more storage space was needed and a second larger warehouse was soon built. While not as dignified as its brick predecessor, this particular structure was large enough to allow trains to pull directly inside to unload their cargos.

Calumet Manual Training School

Calumet – This massive school was originally built by C&H to not only educate the community’s children, but to also provide those children with the skills needed for a future job in in the mine.

Calumet Mill Boiler House

Calumet Mill Boiler House

Calumet – This large brick building is all that remains of C&H’s first stamp mill, built on the shore of Calumet Lake just north of the old mine site.

Calumet No.3

Calumet – Home to a disastrous fire that resulted in the death of eight workers and the closure of the mine for over five months, C&H’s old Calumet No.3 shaft would be sealed off and never opened again.

Hecla Fire Station

Hecla Fire Station

Calumet – This old fire station was originally built by the mine to protect its surface plant, and is now home to the township fire department.

Russell Snow Plow

Calumet – A necessary part for any Copper Country railroad, this rolling snow plow was pushed by a locomotive to clear tracks of the region’s 300 inches of yearly snowfall.

Superior Boiler House

Calumet – This massive sandstone building originally housed a sprawling collection of boilers required to power the monstrous Superior steam engine once housed next door.

Traprock Valley Railroad Trestle

Lake Linden – With C&H’s acquisition of several mines out of reach of its railroad, the C&H Line was extended eight miles from the mine’s mills at Lake Linden to Ahmeek – crossing over the county highway at this point.