Copper Mining in the U.P.
Have you ever thought of going copper mining?
Majority of copper mining ended for Michigan Upper Peninsula in the late 1960’s. Today you can don on a hard hat and jacket and ride a cog wheel down to the 7th level of the mine and try to imagine what it was like to mining so many years ago. The Quincy Mine in Hancock Michigan doesn’t mine for copper any more but you can tour it. If you are lucky you may even be able to find small pieces of copper around the buildings of Mine Shaft #2 and the Hoist Building.
Now a days it is much easier to get down mine shaft. You are able to go down on a cog train down a steep hill to the 7th level and are transported into the mine by tractor and wagon. Once inside the mine where your are about 360 feet below ground level you can walk around and try to understand how the miners did their job their job by candle light. When miners went to work they traveled down the mine shaft in an apparatus that looked like a staircase. They sat 3 to a bench and a total of 30 men went shooting down the shaft in pitch dark with no room to even move a muscle until they got down to the level that they were working. The stair carriage was then removed and a box put on the hoist to move the copper out of the mine until the end of the miner shift.
The miners where not paid by the hour but by the amount of copper that they mined. If for some reason their candle burnt out, they often didn’t have a way to get it lit again and they would have to wait to end of their shift for others to come by and help them find their way back out of the shaft… losing money. Imagine not getting paid for a day of work because you lose your light and had to sit in the dark.
The hoist weighs 1,765,000 pounds and could pull a skip with 20,000 pounds of rock at 36.4 miles per hour.
Quincy Mine is not the only mine that you can go on tours in the Copper Country. You can also visit Delaware Copper Mine or Adventure Copper Mine. If you ever get a chance to visit the Upper Peninsula Michigan a copper mine tour is a must on your list of things to do.
The Upper Peninsula or Copper Country has many things and sites to see. If you want to know more about visiting this area, check out the article that I wrote last week featuring Fort Wilkins in Copper Harbor.
You will never get bored here and you will always want to come back.