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Copper Country Place & Space

“We thank the Quincy Mining Company for placing the copper in the ground giving us a chance to be miners. Also for the privilege of using their man cars to ride up and down the shaft, giving us machines to run and two ton cars to push…and for all this you pay us $2.50 per shift, which we thank you.”

Miners’ Bulletin, December 9, 1913

The Copper Country became a showplace for industrial mining. By 1900, after more than 50 years of copper production, the Keweenaw’s landscape was a testimony to the power, progress, and prestige of area mines. The Copper Country skyline included towering shafthouses covering mine openings, immense smokestacks and magnificent church steeples on land often donated by mining companies. Between these lofty structures, which dominated the Copper Country landscape, were the contrasting homes of mine managers and mineworkers. A simple understanding of the social pecking order of mine employees could be seen by comparing the large homes for managers, midsized houses for mining captains and shift bosses, and a variety of small, lower-quality dwellings for workers.
Men at work underground in the Franklin Mine

Men at work underground in the Franklin Mine. The huge timbers supported ceilings or hanging walls on various levels. This meant cutting thousands of area trees for use underground.

This 1880 bird’s eye drawing of the Quincy Hillside includes the Quincy, Pewabic, and Franklin Mines. Ripley, a settlement for workers at Quincy’s copper smelter, sits in the foreground. 1880 bird’s eye drawing of the Quincy Hillside
honeycomb of cavities In the Copper Country’s hard rock mines, workers extracted copper ore from deep underground. As this map demonstrates, there was a honeycomb of cavities beneath the surface. Those openings remain today, though they are now filled with millions of gallons of water.

Two-dimensional sketch of a stope in the Calumet conglomerate copper lode. These workspaces could be thousands of feet below surface.

Two-dimensional sketch of a stope
Looking down from a hill on Trimountain

Looking down from a hill on Trimountain, a company location owned by the Copper Range Company. The neat rows of steeply pitched houses were primarily for preferred workers.