Mining Legacy

Mining Legacy

45 Historical Attractions | Keweenaw National Historic Park | Mine Tours | Mineral Museum | Fort Wilkins | Mansion Tour | Tech Archives | Ghost Towns

Tens of thousands of immigrants from Finland, Cornwall and other European countries “went West” to Michigan’s northernmost peninsula to seek their fortunes in the mines, forests and towns. Most of that fortune stuffed the bank accounts of mine owners and lumber barons.

But one-industry towns are risky. Rising production costs, a failed miners’ strike in 1913, followed by the Great Depression caused jobs and people to vanish. Now, these phantom towns and industrial relics are vivid reminders of how fleeting natural resources … and prosperity … can be. While a large share of the population left the region, much of their legacy remains to be rediscovered and experienced.  

Not sure where to start? Here are what the locals recommend …

Start Your Journey at the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

The Keweenaw National Historic Park (KNHP) preserves and shares the story of the Keweenaw’s copper booms and busts through 21 Heritage Sites. Each helps tell of the rise, domination and decline of this area’s copper mining industry. Embodying stories of hardship, ingenuity, struggle and success, each site allows you to explore the role mining played in people’s lives here and afar.  Be sure to visit the KNHP Visitors’ Center in Calumet, MI to learn about upcoming exhibits, programs and to help plan your visit.  

 

Tour an Underground Copper Mine.

Aerial view of the historic Quincy Mine in the Keweenaw

There’s no better way to understand what life was like for the miners who toiled to produce the copper ore than to participate in a tour of one of the Keweenaw’s historic copper mines.  During the copper boom of the late 1800s, mines sprung to life across the region.  But many operated only a short time due to a challenging competitive environment, technological shifts, and the constantly changing price of copper. 

Luckily, visitors can still experience life below ground by visiting the historic Quincy Mine near Hancock, MI or take a self-guided tour of the Delaware Mine near Mohawk, MI.  

  • Guided tours at Quincy Mine allow visitors to travel back into the late 1800s and experience the ingenuity, technology and persaverance required to make the mine one of the most reliable and profitable copper mines of its day.  Encounter the Norderg Steam Hoist, the world’s largest steam-powered hoist engine, which made it possible to extend the No. 2 Mine Shaft 92 levels underground! Then ride the Cog Rail Tram, which passengers down the steep hill that overlooks the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to the East Adit (mine entrance) where your underground experience begins!
  • Located 12 miles south of Copper Harbor, the Delaware Copper Mine dates from 1847-1887. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from the five shafts that reached a depth of 1,400 feet with ten levels. The tour takes you down shaft No. 1 to the first level. You’ll see pure veins of copper exposed in the walls of the mine. Model train, rock & mineral and mining displays, antique engines, petting zoo and walking trails. Museum and gift shop at the mine site. Open daily June thru October. 
A group tour of a copper mine in the Upper Peninsula

The Quincy Mine offers both surface and underground tours so that visitors can experience the life of copper miners in the late 1800s.

 

Explore our Ghost Towns

Remnants of vanished mining communities exist throughout the Keweenaw landscape.  As mines closed, entire communities migrated to other parts of the Keweenaw and the country. Much of the stone architecture remains along the region’s trail systems and within the regrown forests of the Keweenaw.  Many of these sites are accessible to the public interested in visiting the ruins and hoping to find native copper among the mounds of discarded mine rock piles.  Click here for tips on exploring our Ghost Towns

 

Discover a treasure trove in the Michigan Tech University Archives.

Whether you are interested in 19th-century immigration, mining, boom-and-bust towns or tracing your own family history in the Upper Peninsula, this Houghton site offers photos to newspapers on microfilm dating back to the 1850s. The Michigan Tech University Archives and Historical Collections provides a treasure trove of historical documents and images for visitors interested in conducting research on the Keweenaw’s storied past.  Click here to search the archives

 

Tour the Home of a Copper Baron.

While the village of Laurium is not a ghost town, it is the site of large homes that rose up from the hey-day of copper mining and lumbering. The most opulent is the Laurium Manor, a 45-room mansion built in 1908 for Calumet & Arizona Mining Co. owners Thomas H. & Cornelia Hoatson. Today it is a bed-and-breakfast inn that in addition to being available for overnight stays offers daily self-guided tours between Memorial Weekend and late October. Visiting the Laurium Manor Inn is an excellent way to see the disparity of wealth during the height of copper boom-and-bust years. Click here for more information about tours of the Laurium Manor.  

A view of the outside of a copper baron's home in Laurium, MI

Visitors can opt for a tour of the opulent Laurium Manor, which belonged to a local copper baron during the early 1900s.

 

Fort Wilkins State Park

Built in 1844 and abandoned just two years late, Fort Wilkins was once an active U.S. Army post constructed to keep the peace in Michigan’s Copper Country. The fort was briefly regarrisoned in the late 1860’s. Today, Fort Wilkins State Park is a well-preserved example of mid-19th century army life on the northern frontier. Through exhibits, audiovisual programs and living history interpretation, visitors may explore the daily routine of military service, experience the hardships of frontier isolation and discover the lifeways of another era. The park also includes the Copper Harbor Lighthouse Complex with a restored 1848 lightkeeper’s dwelling, 1866 lighthouse, and interpretive trails.

Several additional attractions are nearby.  The Estivant Pines (a stand of virgin white pines), and The Delaware Mine (an old copper mine with guided tours), are located near the park. Brockway Mountain Drive offers scenic views of Lake Superior, inland lakes and panoramic views of the Keewenaw Penninsula. Waterfalls, day trips to Isle Royale, shipwrecks, museums, shops and restaurants are all nearby.

A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

With about 4,000 specimens on display and frequently changing exhibits, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum located on the campus of Michigan Tech showcases amazing minerals from the Great Lakes Region and around the world. Visitors can access the world’s largest public display of minerals from the Great Lakes region, one of the best fluorescent mineral exhibits in the U.S., and a world-record 17-ton native copper slab (not open in winter)! The museum is the “official Mineralogical Museum of Michigan” and a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

World-record 17 ton copper slab at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

45 Historical Attractions

The Keweenaw’s history draws visitors from across the globe.  Discover over forty historical attractions that tell the story of the Copper Country’s incredible past.  

View Map
FILTERS
Close

Refine Search

By Category:
By Regions:
By Name:

340 Sixth Street
Calumet, MI 49913 US

Phone: (906) 337-2610
(906) 337-2166
E-Mail Address: calumettheatre@calumettheatre.com
Region: Calumet
Website

When its doors opened in 1900, the Calumet Opera House became one of the finest municipal theatres in America. Many famous traveling drama companies and musicians, from Madame Helena Modjeska to J ...
More Info

42373 Hancock Street
Chassell, MI 49916 US

Phone: (906) 523-1155
Region: Chassell
Website

The Chassell Heritage Center houses the Chassell Township Museum, Friends of Fashion Vintage Clothing Collection and a performance and convocation area. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Hi ...
More Info

44 Trimountain Ave
South Range, MI 49963 US

Phone: (906) 487-9412
E-Mail Address: johnandjeanp@chartermi.net
Region: Houghton
Website

Museum which focuses on the history of the Range towns in southern Houghton County, during the copper mining era of the Copper Range Mining Company.
More Info

25815 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913 US

Phone: (906) 337-4354
E-Mail Address: info@KeweenawHeritageSites.org
Region: Calumet
Website

The Mining Museum is merely an introduction to the fascinating story of the Copper Country and Americas first real mining boom.
More Info

Central, MI 49950 US

Phone: (906) 289-4990
Region: Eagle Harbor
Website

Located just north of US-41 approximately 4 miles north of Phoenix. The community, now a part of the Keweenaw County Historic Society Museum Complex, was settled around the Central Mining Company ...
More Info

327 Sixth Street
Calumet, MI 49913 US

Phone: (906) 337-4579
E-Mail Address: coppercountryfirefighters@hotmail.com
Region: Calumet
Website

Housed in the historic Red Jacket Fire Station, this museum features memorabilia and exhibits spanning almost a century of firefighting history. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical ...
More Info

Eagle Harbor, MI 49550 US

Region: Eagle Harbor

The Copper Falls mine was one of the regions pioneers. It was 1845, and the Copper Falls Company gained a tract of landing spanning over 4,000 acres north of the greenstone on a 700 foot summit of ...
More Info

Chassell, MI 49916 US

Region: Chassell

In 1893, Craig, also know as Portage Entry, located on the shore of Keweenaw Bay at the mouth of the Portage River and on the Soo Line Railroad in Schoolcraft and Portage Townships and 13 miles so ...
More Info

110 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913 US

Phone: (906) 337-2507
Region: Calumet

The Calumet Colosseum is the oldest still-in-use indoor ice arena in the world. Thats a claim were proud of, and when our opponents and their fans step foot in the building, theyll be reminded of ...
More Info

105 Huron Street
Houghton, MI 49931 US

Phone: (906) 482-7140
E-Mail Address: history@cityofhoughton.com
Region: Houghton
Website

The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is open year-round and features changing exhibits and programs about the regions cultural and natural history, including interactive displays to engage all lear ...
More Info

Bridgeview Park
Houghton, MI 49931 US

Region: Houghton
Website

Take a Portage Canal tour with us aboard the SS Dragonfly!  Our Duffy electric boat is emission-free and quiet, which means no fumes or loud engine noises.
More Info

List of Members

Members found: 48

showing 1 through 11 of 11

Calumet Colosseum

110 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-2507
Region: Calumet
The Calumet Colosseum is the oldest still-in-use indoor ice arena in the world. Thats a claim were proud of, and when our opponents and their fans step foot in the building, theyll be reminded of ... More

Calumet Theatre

340 Sixth Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-2610 (906) 337-2166
Region: Calumet
When its doors opened in 1900, the Calumet Opera House became one of the finest municipal theatres in America. Many famous traveling drama companies and musicians, from Madame Helena Modjeska to J ... More

Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw

105 Huron Street
Houghton, MI 49931
Phone: (906) 482-7140
Region: Houghton
The Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw is open year-round and features changing exhibits and programs about the regions cultural and natural history, including interactive displays to engage all lear ... More

Central Mine

Central, MI 49950
Phone: (906) 289-4990
Region: Eagle Harbor
Located just north of US-41 approximately 4 miles north of Phoenix. The community, now a part of the Keweenaw County Historic Society Museum Complex, was settled around the Central Mining Company ... More

Chassell Heritage Center

42373 Hancock Street
Chassell, MI 49916
Phone: (906) 523-1155
Region: Chassell
The Chassell Heritage Center houses the Chassell Township Museum, Friends of Fashion Vintage Clothing Collection and a performance and convocation area. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Hi ... More

Copper Country Boat Tours LLC

Bridgeview Park
Houghton, MI 49931
Region: Houghton
Take a Portage Canal tour with us aboard the SS Dragonfly!  Our Duffy electric boat is emission-free and quiet, which means no fumes or loud engine noises. More

Copper Country Firefighter's Memorial Museum

327 Sixth Street
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-4579
Region: Calumet
Housed in the historic Red Jacket Fire Station, this museum features memorabilia and exhibits spanning almost a century of firefighting history. A Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical ... More

Copper Falls The Ghost Town

Eagle Harbor, MI 49550
Region: Eagle Harbor
The Copper Falls mine was one of the regions pioneers. It was 1845, and the Copper Falls Company gained a tract of landing spanning over 4,000 acres north of the greenstone on a 700 foot summit of ... More

Copper Range Historical Museum

44 Trimountain Ave
South Range, MI 49963
Phone: (906) 487-9412
Region: Houghton
Museum which focuses on the history of the Range towns in southern Houghton County, during the copper mining era of the Copper Range Mining Company. More

Coppertown USA Mining Museum & Gift Shop

25815 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913
Phone: (906) 337-4354
Region: Calumet
The Mining Museum is merely an introduction to the fascinating story of the Copper Country and Americas first real mining boom. More

Craig the Ghost Town

Chassell, MI 49916
Region: Chassell
In 1893, Craig, also know as Portage Entry, located on the shore of Keweenaw Bay at the mouth of the Portage River and on the Soo Line Railroad in Schoolcraft and Portage Townships and 13 miles so ... More

showing 1 through 11 of 11

 

Produced by
Please read!

This site uses "Cookies" to store limited information required to provide you with a consistent user experience. Click "Show more" for additional information.

Show more Got it!