1997 Mining History Association Field Trip

 

Keweenaw Peninsula Copper Mines

Houghton, Michigan

June 8, 1997

PHOTO GALLERY 4 of 4

 


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The north shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula is dotted with small harbors and towns that served as shipping points for copper.  Lake Superior also provided the vital supply line for residents before roads reached the area.

 

Picturesque lighthouses at Copper Harbor, Eagle River, and this one at Eagle Harbor helped guide shipping traffic to its final destination.

(Above)  Erik Nordberg explains the mines along the greenstone ridge in the eastern end of the Keweenaw.  The MHAers are facing the site of the Delaware Mine.

 

(Right) Visitors can tour the Delaware which began as a fissure vein mine in 1848 and ended decades later in 1880ís as a conglomerate lode mine.  It never made money for its investors in spite of repeated large infusions of capital.

 

The earliest discovery of copper took place in 1844 near the present-day Ft. Wikins State Park.  The fort was established to provide protection for the early miners.

Some of the original copper discovery pits and development shafts can be seen in the park.  Production was minimal and the miners moved on to the more productive Cliff Mine also operated by the Pittsburgh and Boston Mining Company.

 

(Above)  The restored Ft. Wilkins is located just outside Copper Harbor.  Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of the original buildings as well as some of the traces of mining.

 

(Right)  It doesnít take a stop at the famous Keweenaw snow gauge to appreciate the hardships endured by those who prospected and mined the copper, especially in the 1840ís and 1850ís.  Their isolation once the Great Lakes froze in winter could not have been more complete.

Photo Credits: Johnny Johnsson and Mike Kaas

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