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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Quincy Copper Mine and St. Joseph's Church

The Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP is a place unlike any other we've traveled  and I wanted to post a  report on two more different and interesting places we visited while there.  One unusual thing I noticed is that the entire upper two thirds of the peninsula is an island with the only connection back to the mainland being the lift bridge in Houghton we mentioned earlier. There's a large canal from the west side of Lake Superior crossing the peninsula into Lake Portage and empties back out on the east side of Lake Superior. If there was any other access across the water, I couldn't locate it on Goggle Maps or any of our trips.
          Our host at City of Houghton RV Park, Dan Kemp, provided us with a list of a"be sure to see" places in the region and among those was the Quincy Copper Mine and St. Joseph Church in Lake Linden.
        The Quincy Copper Mine is located near the City of Hancock and operated from 1846 to 1945 and is a National Historic Landmark.  The mine was one of the more productive mines in the area due to the copper rich veins underground and more modern mining techniques in use at the time. Parts of the original mining operation have been preserved and serves as a tourist attraction where visitors can ride a tram down the side of a large hill and go into one of the mine shafts for a guided tour. There is a very nice visitor's center on the property we went to explore and determine if we wanted to take the tour. We learned the tour seemed safe with the biggest issue being the 43 degree year round temperature inside the mine which was a big differential from the 80 degree temperature outside. The Quincy mines had seven total shafts with the deepest being over 9000 feet deep. The senior rate for the tour was $19.00 and lasted about two hours.
         The St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Lake Linden was constructed in 1902 and is one of the more scenic buildings of that era. The church is constructed of red sandstone which is common to the region, but the inside is what makes the church very special. The stained glass windows with the beautiful architectural designs and lighting make the sanctuary very impressive and inspirational. There is a very large pipe organ in the balcony section of the church. The photos should convey the beauty of it all.

Map of our trip from Houghton, Mi. to Baraboo, Wi. We're probably going into Minnesota from here Saturday.

Sign at entrance to the Quincy Mine.
Visitor's Center at Quincy Mine. The building is constructed of sandstone unique to the area and was mined from a vein that goes from this area all the way under Lake Superior to the Pictured Rocks area.
We  came across these Model A's in the parking lot.
Got our hard hats on and jackets ready.

Here's the cog rail we rode down the hill to the mine

Getting ready to start down the hill.

Pretty steep. They told us it was too steep for a conventional steel wheeled train.You can see the extra track in the middle of the two main tracks.

This is the wagon we rode on into the mine shaft. It was pulled by a John Deere tractor.

Crickett ain't taking a chance on getting cold.

900 pound copper nugget that was 99.8% pure. It was unearthed by college students doing field work at the mines.

Two man hammer drill that was used back in the day.

This was a one man drill and was supposed to be more cost effective. They would drill holes in the rock and then set off black powder charges to loosen the ore and was then loaded for excavation  to the top by an elaborate lift system.

Our guide demonstrating how they drilled holes in the rock before hammer drills. The candle on the wall is like the ones they used for light in the early days. Of course he had to blow out the candle to show us how totally dark it was in there without any light. He did warn us before he did it.

One man ore car. One man was supposed to roll this car to the excavation system and dump it by himself. This was all he did for an entire shift. Had to be hard work. 

Talking about mining techniques back in the day.

Part of lift or excavating system used to bring the ore from the mine to the surface to dump on a locomotive to take to a smelting plant. 

Shaft house that was directly over mine shaft and was used to transport the miners in and out of the mine as well as ore and water excavation.

The area under the round rusted drum is where the ore was dumped onto the locomotive.

View inside St Joseph's church in Lake Linden

Large pipe organ located in balcony.

View from balcony

Outside of church

Scenic view where canal enters the waterway that crosses the peninsula. There is a wind break on each side going into Lake Superior with a light beacon marking the north break.

Unusual bird I caught on the beach. Notice the coarse dark "sand" on the beach. It's from the many mines in the area.

Different angle

Pretty Sunset

Good-bye from Lake Superior.