Ahmeek Stamp Mill, Tamarack City, Michigan
Stamp mills were built all over the Keweenaw peninsula and other mining districts to process ore. Typically each mine had it's own stamp mill. The stamp mill received rock from the mine and mechanically pulverized it into a fine sand. The sand was then processed to separate metal from the rock. In the Keweenaw this was done with lots of water. Because of the need for water, all of the stamp mills on the Keweenaw are located on the Lake Superior shore or on Torch Lake. Waste sand was then dumped into the lake. Initially mines built stamp mills on the Keweenaw waterway but the accumulating waste sands threatened to make the waterway impassible.
Several mines chose to build stamp mills on Torch Lake because it had an ample supply of water, was closer to the mines than Lake superior and the lake wasn't heavily used for navigation. Significant ruins also survive of the nearby Quincy Stamp Mill. The Ahmeek Mill was built in 1910. I'm not sure when it ceased operations but I'm guessing that it was closed by the 40s. The metal contraption on top of the concrete monolith in these pictures is the last actual stamping mechanism surviving today in the Keweenaw mining district.
Tamarack City Michigan and the Ahmeek Mill 1930s?
The ruins of the mill are easy to find and explore. They are directly off the side of and visible from M 26 as it passes through Tamarack City and Hubbell. The town has built a small park and playground next to the ruins. There was no interpretive information or visible signs that the ruins were being preserved when I visited in 2010. Nor was there any grounds maintenance, trails or signs of any kind.
There is an exhaustive discussion of the operation of the Ahmeek Stamp mill at the always wonderful: Copper Country Explorer.
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