Champion Mine

Copper Country Heritage Guide - Types

The Champion Mine was the first mine to follow in the footsteps of the Baltic Mine and work the copper rich Baltic Lode. Established in 1899, the mine was a partnership between the Copper Range Company – who had just finished its neighboring railroad – and the St. Mary’s Land Company. The mine would quickly strike it rich, and would end up being the most successful and longest operating mine along the southern range.

The Champion consists of four shafts, labeled “B” through “E” running north to south. An array of modern equipment supplements those shafts, including four soaring steel combination shaft / rock houses and massive Nordberg hoists. A special spur line of the Copper Range served the mine, and hauled the copper over a dozen miles to the Champion’s mill at the Lake Superior shore at Freda.

The Champion would outlive all the other Baltic Lode mines, even continuing to operate on a limited bases through the Depression. The mine would live on for another thirty years, operating mostly through the No.4 and No.3 shafts. It finally closed down for good in 1967.

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Champion Machine Shop

Champion Machine Shop

Painesdale – The Champion Mine’s massive machine shop managed to outlive the mine it was built for, serving the needs of the developing White Pine mine several years after the Champion’s closure.

Champion Mill

Champion Mill

Freda – This sprawling foundation on the shore of Lake Superior punctuated with a soaring smoke stack are all that’s left of the region’s last operating stamp mill – closed in 1967.

Champion No. 2 Hoist House

Champion No. 2 Hoist House

Painesdale – Built to serve the No.2 shaft, this stately sandstone and brick structure once housed one of the Champion Mine’s massive steam powered hoist engines.

Champion No. 3

Champion No. 3

Painesdale – The old railroad spur that once served this dismantled shaft has been replaced with a road, providing an intimate view of the massive sandstone and concrete foundation that remains.

Champion No. 4

Champion No. 4

Painesdale – This towering steel sheathed shaft house was once one of four identical structures erected by the Champion Mine at the turn of the century to pillage its portion of the Baltic Lode.

Champion Oil House

Champion Oil House

Painesdale – This petite brick building housed storage tanks and dispensing equipment for the Champion Mines supply of lubricating oil.