The Keweenaw Peninsula
The Keweenaw Peninsula is an amazing place. The Keweenaw had one of the richest deposits of copper the world has ever known. The copper of the Keweenaw is unique in that it can be found as a pure metal. Even after thousands of years of native American copper gathering and mining and over a hundred years of industrial mining by Europeans, pieces of pure copper can still be found embedded in rocks on the peninsula. Ruins of old mines and old towns are scattered throughout a beautiful landscape of hills, forest and miles of Lake superior beaches.
Native Americans had been mining copper in the Keweenaw since 5000BC. In the 1840s European settlers pushed the Ojibwe out and began industrial scale mining and logging on the peninsula. Masses of pure copper, one weighing 420 tons were blasted, chipped and carved out of mines until the 1940s. Improvements in the process of electrochemically separating copper from sulfide ores lead to an abundance of the metal in the 1900s. Except for brief periods during WWI and WWII copper from Keweenaw became too expensive to extract to be profitable. The last mines in the region closed after WWII. The population of the two counties (Houghton and Keweenaw) on the Keweenaw peaked in 1910 at 95,254 today their combined population is 38,784.
Ghost towns and ruins of mines and mining related industry can be found throughout the Keweenaw and south into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Keweenaw Peninsula Michigan
Keweenaw Peninsula Michigan
The Copper Country Explorer is the best Website of it's kind that I know of. Coverage of Keweenaw mining history and ruins is extensive, meticulous, and the photography is fantastic.
Keweenaw Peninsula Places:
Ahmeek Stamp Mill, Tamarack City | Industrial ruin. (7 photos - 8/17/2010)
Copper Harbor | Small community on the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula with nearby ruins of a 19th century copper smelter. (4 photos - 2007 - 2010)
Gay | Ruins of the Mohawk Stamp Mill (8 photos - 2010)
Quincy Dredge | Interesting abandoned mining equipment. (10 photos - 8/17/2010)
Quincy Mine | Part of the Keweenaw National Historical Park. (9 photos - 2007)
Quincy Smelter | Large copper smelting works near Hancock that had been abandoned for many years. It is now being preserved and is being included in the Keweenaw National Historical Park. (9 photos - 2007-2010)
Quincy Stamp Mill | Former stamp mill for the Quincy Mine. Currently abandoned and deteriorating. ( 20 photos - 8/17/2010)
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