Mines

Copper Country Heritage Guide - Types

The Keweenaw Peninsula is home to one of the largest deposits of native copper to be found anywhere in the world. For centuries the native peoples of this region mined the red metal by means of shallow hand-dug pits, fashioning the copper into tools and jewelry. When European settlers began to arrive to the area in the early 1800’s they too quickly discovered the vast copper riches found in the area, most notably in the form of a giant copper boulder found along the banks of the Ontonagon River.

With the peninsula’s acquisition by the fledging state of Michigan in the middle of the century, state geologist Douglass Houghton – who had seen the great Ontonagon boulder first hand – was dispatched to discover the true nature of the copper riches the state had apparently inherited. Mr. Houghton’s cautious but optimistic report would precipitate a massive rush of prospectors and investors to the peninsula. The confluence of mine companies that would soon set up shop up and down the Keweenaw’s rugged hills and valleys would give birth to the region’s alter ego: The Copper Country.

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Ahmeek Mine Office

Ahmeek Mine Office

Ahmeek – This stately brick building with sandstone highlights was built to house the main offices for the Ahmeek Mine.

Ahmeek No. 2

Ahmeek No. 2

Ahmeek – The No.2 would be the Ahmeek Mine’s most profitable shaft, its skips earning the reputation as being “money makers” as each load was profit for the company.

Ahmeek No. 3/4

Ahmeek No. 3/4

Mohawk – This unique dual shaft almost single handily saved C&H from early closure. Though its massive rock house was demolished, most of its sprawling surface plant can still be seen alongside US41.

Baltic Machine Shop

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.

Seneca No. 3

Seneca No. 3

Mohawk – While the Seneca Mine may have closed down over a half century ago it continues to serve as home for a community of bats – thanks to the specially designed bat-cage adorning its No.3 shaft.

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 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 Dry House

Calumet – Underground workers would finish up their days here at the dry house, where they could wash up and change before heading home to a much deserved dinner. This particular dry served C&H’s old Calumet No.3 and 4 shafts.

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 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 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 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.

Centennial No.2

Centennial – The struggling Centennial Mine opened two shafts atop a small slice of the copper rich Kearsarge lode found along the outskirts of its property in 1899 – a move that would end up saving the struggling mine from extinction.

Centennial No.3

Centennial – The Centennial Mine began its life as the Schoolcraft, opening the No.2 around 1869 to only limited success. A half century later C&H would give it another try, erecting the temporary shaft rockhouse seen today.

Centennial No.6

Kearsarge – As one of the last operating shafts to close, the Centennial No.6 features the region’s most modern and technologically advanced surface plant – a surface plant that continues to stand to this day.

Central Engine House

Central – Amazingly intact for its age, this massive stone structure was built over a century and a half ago to house one of the Central Mine’s steam powered hoists.

Central Powder House

Central – This thick walled structure – featuring an unique brick embellished doorway – was used to store the Central Mine’s supply of explosives and.

Champion Captain's Office

Champion Captain’s Office

Painsedale – This simple wood framed structure served as the office and private change room for the man in charge of the Champion No.4’s underground operations.

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 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.

Clark Mine

Clark Mine

Clark Mine – One of the Keweenaw’s earliest Fissure Mines, the Clark is memorialized by and impressive stone smokestack that continues to stand tall over the old mine site.

Cliff Mine

Phoneix – First opened in 1844, the Cliff Mine was the region’s first to earn a profit and pay dividends to its investors. Over a century later the vast ruins of the great mine can still be found along the base of a soaring rock cliff.

Copper Range Company Office

Copper Range Company Office

Painesdale – This large abandoned building was once home to the Copper Range Company’s main offices and houses a massive two story safe.

Delaware Warehouse

Delaware Warehouse

Delaware – This impressive rock walled building once housed materials and supplies for the Delaware Mine and its later incarnations.

Delaware Powder House

Delaware Powder House

Delaware – This small stone building once served as an explosives storage building for the Delaware Mine, but has since been converted into a summer camp.

Peepsock Trail

Isle Royale Coal Dock

Houghton – The remains of the old Isle Royale Coal Dock now serve to support a 200 foot boardwalk along the city of Houghton’s Peepsock Trail.

Isle Royale Dry House

Houghton – One of three identical structures built around 1917, this concrete building was used by workers from the adjacent No. 6 shaft to clean up and change after their shift.

Isle Royale Machine Shop

Houghton – The Isle Royale Mine’s assorted collection of equipment and machinery were repaired within this massive building, which also housed a large warehouse within its north wing.

Isle Royale No.6

Houghton – The Isle Royale Mine was originally organized to mine the island of the same name, but fading fortunes forced its move to the mainland and a stretch of copper rich lode above Houghton.

Mesnard No.8

Hancock – Originally opened in 1862, the old Mesnard Mine would later end up in the hands of the neighboring Quincy Mine. Over a century later it would be home to a last ditch effort to re-open the region’s copper industry to no avail.

Mohawk No.3

Mohawk -The rock piles from the No.3 shaft sits just east of town behind the old Mohawk School.

Mohawk No.5

Mohawk – The concrete foundations from this old Mohawk shaft’s rock house sit right alongside the road along conveniently labeled No.5 road.

Mohawk No.6

Mohawk – The last shaft to be sunk by the Mohawk Mine, the remains of the No.6 are adorned by a towering concrete pillar once used to support the rock house’s drop hammer.

Mohawk Powder House

Mohawk Powder House

Mohawk – Built in 1915 this rock walled building was once used to store the explosives required at the neighboring Mohawk Mine.Learn More…

North Kearsarge No. 1

North Kearsarge No. 1

Kearsarge – Massive rock piles and a scattering of ruins are all that remains of the town’s namesake found just north of town.

North Kearsarge No. 3

North Kearsarge No. 3

Kearsarge – Though not nearly as productive as its younger brother, the No.3’s legacy is the unique hillside ruins of its sprawling surface plant.

North Kearsarge No.4

Copper City – The most notable remain from the Kearsarge’s most northern shaft is its impressive brick walled machine shop, now used as a private residence.

Osceola No.3

Calumet – This Osceola shaft was the scene of the Keweenaw’s worst mining accident – a tragic 1895 fire that resulted in the deaths of thirty underground workers.

Osceola No.6

Calumet – Located on lands once belonging to the old Opechee mine, the last of Osceola’s shafts was outfitted with a modern surface plant by C&H, most of which continues to stand today.

Phoenix Mine

Phoenix Mine

Phoenix – One of the earliest mine companies to organize on the peninsula, the former Lake Superior Mining company would survive into the 20th century as the Phoenix with only limited success.

Quincy Dry House

Hancock – This massive stone building served as Quincy’s primary dry house, where workers could change and wash up before returning home at the end of their shifts.

Quincy Blacksmith & Machine Shop

>Hancock – Built on land previously owned by the neighboring Pewabic Mine, these massive sandstone and brick structures repaired and maintained the Quincy Mine’s collection of tools and equipment.

Quincy Mine Office

Quincy Mine Office

Hancock – Built in 1897, this stately sandstone building served as the national headquarters of the Quincy Mining Company.

Quincy No.9

Hancock – Sitting on land originally owned by the failed Pontiac Mine, this remote shaft was part of a failed effort by the Quincy Mine to open new land along the Pewabic Lode.

Quincy No.2

Hancock – Built in 1908 to replace an earlier wood structure, this five story steel monstrosity represented a Copper Country at its peak, utilizing the most advanced and efficient mining methods available at the time.

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.

Tamarack No.4

Calumet – Dropping over 4500 feet straight down into the earth, this shaft would become infamous when 7-year old Ruth Ann Miller fell down the poorly capped shaft to her death in 1966.

Wolverine No.3

Kearsarge – This successful mine opened a total of four shafts along its rather copper rich section of the Kearsarge Lode, prompting the establishment of the nearby community of Wolervine.