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avatar Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 25, 2012 11:15AM
    
A page for discussing all the wonders of the Keweenaw. Created for Bill Boehm.
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 25, 2012 03:14PM
DAN....THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! THANK YOU ! I logged in, went to the bottom of the page, used the locality search at the bottom of the xfinity advertisment, and the locality search from the mindat.org toolbar and both came up the same. Under add/edit data - search pages - mineral chatroom at the top of the page. It says...Locality name search - names containing 'Keweenaw Co., Mighigan USA' ...then under that it ssays...search returned 253 items.. then under that Did you mean Keweenaw Co., Michigan USA? I then went to the search bar at the top just to see what it says and it still tells me I do not have permission. BUT..............thanks to you.........I can now post here. Right now I have to go out to my workshop and replace a motor from one John Deere gator to another gator for my wife. You can bet cher bippy I will be on this website later tonight. I owe you Dan. Bill
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 25, 2012 05:25PM
Bill Boehm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You can bet cher bippy I will be on this website
> later tonight.

Hmmmm; even if I had a "bippy" in my possession, I wouldn't take that bet!! grinning smiley
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 26, 2012 03:39AM
thumbs upgrinning smiley Here I am with bells ringing and bippy in tow...Have a great desire to talk to all of you people that love the Keweenaw peninsula. My wife and I live in northeastern Indiana and go there every fall around the end of September up into October. One of these years we want to go there in early spring just after the ice has gone fron the lake Superior shorelines. We started going there in 2007 to hunt for agates. We first stayed at Fitzgeralds at Eagle River. That year I don't believe we found any agates at all. We did however bring back a couple hundred pounds of 'pretty rocks' that we use for tumbling and larger rocks for landscaping. We had no idea what an agate looked like. We bought a couple touristy agate I D pamphlets and took them home, studied them and had dreams of finding the 'big ones' next year. We started staying at the White House motel in Mohawk. We love the owners, Bob and Cherri Hughes. We eat breakfast at Slim's cafe and are usually on our way to some location by 8 or 9:00. We take two ATV's with us and love the mobility it gives us for finding out of the way spots. We are total beginners. We now know how to find agates. We still do not know how to classify them according to structure or mineral. Last year we decided to buy a metal detector and hunt some mine tailing dumps. We spent half our vacation time doing that and came up with what 'we' thought were great finds. After getting on this website and seeing the pictures of what member's special - -favourite- -specimens look like I can see that we have a long, long way to go. I can see now what Paul, Rock, Bart, and a few others meant when they said some finds are better off left natural without being subjected to acid baths and such. My own experiences with soaking in acid too long and 'burning' the native copper and etching the calcite crystals have drastically disfigured the pieces. There is such a thing as trial and error but there is also such a thing as look before you leap.....meaning research and listen to knowledgeable people first. My wife and I have only gotten started with the hunting mine dumps. Only three or four out of ???????how many. This spring we are going to take our metal detector to Arizona and see if we can find anything. Have no idea yet where we'll go. We usually hunt for chalcedony and fire agate and agatized petrified wood. Have any of you heard that they are going to open back up the Centennial mine. Last fall when we were there we talked with some workers that were re-wiring the buildings and getting ready to set up equipment to neutralize the toxic chemicals in the water so they could pump it out. With the price of copper and more efficient technology available I would think there would be a lot more openings. I have Charcot Marie Tooth , (peripheral neuropathy) in my legs. It causes the muscles in my legs to deteriorate and affects my balance. My wife and I ride our ATV's out to high rock point and walk down the shore towards Keweenaw point. It is rough walking for me, even with a walking stick and ankle braces. I have yet to make it all the way to the point, but I am bound and determined to make it one day. I always wonder how many big agates or chunks of copper I step on. We are thinking about trying to carry a tent, sleeping bags, some food out there and camp on the shoreline for a night or two. When we were younger we used to go backpacking with our daughters (7) in Colorado. Even then we loved rocks. When we found out that all the rocks we had collected wouldn't fit in the vehicle, we shipped them home via the USPS. No wonder all our friends tell us we have rocks in our heads. Well, it's time to get my chores done before hitting the sack. Maybe I'll be able to reach out to some of you that want to kibitz about the Keweenaw. I hope so. Bill
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 27, 2012 11:18PM
Gosh, I guess you did have a lot to say, and no doubt have much more!! Where do I even start???

All of the places you mention Bill I have been to. The Keweenaw is an incredible place to explore, drive around, and grow up in. You have no idea how agonising it is for someone who grew up there to now live in a city with over 7 million people in it. I try to get back UP there as often as possible just to escape. I can imagine it must be nice to have ATVs to cruise around the back woods; I always just used my two good feet, but I see that is not an option for you. There are a lot of places in the Keweenaw mining has touched at one time or another. Many of the really old (150+ years ago) areas are so overgrown it makes it tough to locate them, but those can also be the most fun to explore.

So do you know what mines you have already visited??
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 28, 2012 04:34AM
Capt. Paul: I'll tell you the names of the ones that I know we have been to. The Mandan mine, the Cliff mine, Central mine, Phoenix mine, Centennial Mine, the mountain of tailings behind the White House Motel in Mohawk and any other pile of rocks we came across. We are just not learning how to use a metal detector. When we stayed at the Fitzgeralds Inn in Eagle River we got to know a guy that worked there as a host/waiter. We started talking to him about hunting agates and then he told us that he hunted with a metal detector for Indian artifacts made out of copper. He apparently did quite well. He said he had sold one thing to a museum for $5,000 and had offers to sell some others. I kind of had my doubts that he had really done that well. Then one day while driving thru Mohawk, we saw a sign that a person had a garage sale. He had a lot of different kinds of rocks and lots of copper. We bought a pair of copper book ends and struck up a conversation with him. We mentioned the waiter named Mike and him doing so good with a detector. This guy (Randy) said yeah, I hunt with Mike all the time and he's telling the truth about finding all those artifacts, and lots of flow copper too. Mike had told us that he has all kinds of geological survey maps that he uses to tell him the different elevations of the shore lines. He said that back when the Indians were there the water level of the lake was perhaps as much as 100 - 300 feet higher. That's what he goes by in deciding where to hunt. The higher ridges were where they probably camped and traveled. I know how to hunt native american artifacts here in the flatlands, but it's a little different in Da UP. If I ever found a copper arrowhead or spear point I'd probably have the big one. I have scrolled thru the pictures under the special favourite section and it never ceases to amaze me at how intricately beautiful the self collected finds are. After I run out of things to tell about my wife's and my experiences in the Keweenaw, I will be dead in the water unless someone replies to my post with questions or other additional things to talk about. I say that because I know when I am out of my league. It would be cause for laughter and snickering if I ever posted photos again of favorites of mine. I can read and remember certain mineral names but if I have a specimen in my hand I couldn't tell you what it was unless it was an agate or chalcedony or obsidian or petrified wood or native copper or turquoise. I see all these posts and everyone throwing all these big names around and I'm thinking that I am so privileged to be able to view photos and posts by all these Doctors and scientists and engineers. Thank you. Bill
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 28, 2012 06:00PM
    
Bill,
Exploring with ATVs is a great idea, especially in getting to some of the really out of the way places and be able to carry everything back easily. I have always thought it would be a great idea to try doing this, as long as concerns for safety are followed, and the there is minimal disturbance to the environment. I do like the tranquility of walking the old sites in silence, but I can definitely understand that it can be difficult to make it for some folks. You and your wife sound like some great outdoors loving people, and I can feel your appreciation for the beautiful country and history of northern Michigan.

I think that sometimes my family thinks I am crazy for how much I love it up there, but I point out that I am not the only one! My dream is to retire up there one day, but right now that is only a dream. Getting away from the city, the crowds, the traffic, and everything else would be great. All the talk of opening mines back up is very interesting, and makes me wonder where it will lead. Through the years, there has been talk that with new mining techniques and technology, old mines could possibly be productive once again, both in Keweenaw and further east toward Marquette.

By the way, though it is a topic for a different board, there is also much to see in Michigan's Iron Country, between Marquette and the Keweenaw. I am not sure how familiar you are with that area, but there is a great history of iron mining as well as some gold mining (for a great book on that subject, see Dan's book Michigan Gold: Mining in the Upper Peninsula) and there is some incredible country to experience. Just thought I would mention it.
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 29, 2012 12:12AM
The iron countries (there are three of them) in and around Marquette, Iron Mountain, and Ironwood are fascinating to explore as well, I just have never spent a lot of time around them, at least not to collect minerals. I have been around all three to do geologic work in, especially around Marquette.

The mines you mention Bill are all good ones to poke around. I would say out of those listed, the Cliff has the most variety although all of them have their own interesting things. It sounds like you have barely even scratched the surface of mine sites in the area; you have a lot of sites still to find, let alone explore. I know of the beach ridges around the Keweenaw that were formed during the several high water stands (Algonquin, Nipissing, etc...). One of the best places to see those are on the east side of the Peninsula near McLain State Park. I'm always a little suspect of the people who say they have found all these great and wonderful things, especially when you're a tourist or they think you're a tourist. Everytime I go back up there the first thing some of the more colourful folks do is check my license plate and when they see Texas, they automatically think I'm a "rich" tourist until I start telling them about the geology of the Keweenaw and mines that they have never even heard of; that usually backs them off!! grinning smiley

I doubt mining for copper like the old days will ever return to the Keweenaw. It's not because there's no copper, but the native copper is so deep now and most of the mines are full of water so it is just not cost-effective compared to the openpits in Arizona and Utah.
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
January 29, 2012 06:21AM
Hi Scott: Dan's book....Dan? Michigan Gold: Mining for gold in the Upper Peninsula. Riding the ATV's is a great way of covering a lot of terrain a lot faster and easier. We don't go any place other than the established trails or the logging roads. And yes, it surely does help in getting all the .....rocks.....back to the car or the motel. Do take note that I said ROCKS Scott. Just about everytime we go home from the U.P. we probably have at least 300 lbs of rocks (for a 3-4 week stay) of which 75% are just pretty rocks for landscaping around the house. CAPTAIN PAUL; Perhaps if I learn how to do proper research I will at some point in time come up with some names and GPS co-ordinates to aid in finding some of those overgrown, hard to find 150+ year old mine sites. The harder to find the better. As long as I don't have to be a Mountain sheep to do it. When we used to go to Idaho and Colorado backpacking in the 70's and 80's I always went to the library (before computers) and did research on ghost towns. The ones that said accessible only by horseback or hiking were the ones we went for. We even found an old mine that had a large metal box with a lid that was full of dynamite. I did know that dynamite in that unstable condition was not something I wanted to mess with. I just closed the lid and left it. There were shovels, picks, prybars, an ore cart, small rails. The wooden handles were all gone, just the metal parts. When we got back to town, I mentioned it to the local sherriff we had befriended and he had me draw him a map so he and a deputy could go back up there and dispose of it. He was not aware the mine existed and he had grown up in the area and hiked the mountains every year. You just never know what you'll find. Even found an old dogsled under the collapsed roof of a cabin in Idaho one year. I am a little bit familiar with the area around Crystall Falls, Michigan. In the late 1960's I owned 80 acres between Crystall Falls, and Sagola. It was close to the Michigamme Reservoir, a good body of water for Walleye. Is it true that 30 percent of the time you're probably walking directly over a tunnel or shaft when you're in the Keweenaw? Is it true that some of these tunnels are as wide as two city blocks? We were told that some of the horses/mules that worked underground in the mines never again saw the light of day once they were taken down. That's sad. We were also told that sometimes when walking in the brush or hills that when we saw a pronounced trench, to explore it to see if it was one made by a mule dragging ore from a pit. Well, I've said my piece for tonight. I think I'll take my leave. Bill
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 01, 2012 01:15AM
Bill Boehm Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Is it true that 30 percent of the time you're
> probably walking directly over a tunnel or shaft
> when you're in the Keweenaw?

I would say that's a good estimate. Much of the town of Calumet is hollowed out underneath from mining activities, as is the stretch between Mohawk and Painesdale.

> Is it true that some of these tunnels are as wide as
>two city blocks?

Not necessarily the tunnels into the mines, but the stoped out areas can be very large covering hundreds of thousands of square feet!!

> We were told that some of the horses/mules that
> worked underground in the mines never again saw
> the light of day once they were taken down.
> That's sad.

Sad, but true. Many of the larger mines did use horses/mules underground, some even had stables where the animals were kept to rest between shifts. On a side note; Quincy Mine never used animals underground.

> We were also told that sometimes when
> walking in the brush or hills that when we saw a
> pronounced trench, to explore it to see if it was
> one made by a mule dragging ore from a pit.

I have never heard of mules making trenches in the Keweenaw for mining purposes. Any of the trenches and pits you will come across up there were likely made by prehistoric miners some 4,000 years ago when they mined copper to make tools and ornaments for trade.
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 01, 2012 03:01AM
    
Interesting facts indeed. A day or two ago, I came across the website listed below. The person running this site has some great photos of a lot of the old sites. I am not sure how factual all of the information is, but I have staring at the pictures a lot since I found it. I really do enjoy the mining history as well as the minerals. The history of it all is utterly fascinating to me. Let me know what you think of the website.

Copper Country Explorer

On another note, I had a question regarding some of the sites up there, and Paul, you are the perfect person to ask. If a person was going up to the area, do you have recommendations as to which sites would be the best to visit? Something like a prioritization list, with your top five sites.

Or, if you even have time, maybe a short list from a collecting standpoint, and perhaps a list from a historical/mining site perspective. That is, if you have a moment and it isn't too much to ask. smiling smiley
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 04, 2012 12:52AM
That is a very hard question to answer, as it really depends on what you're after. If you're simply after copper, every mine has that, but it's hard to beat the fissure mines (Cliff, Central, Phoenix, etc...) for good crystals. Same for prehnite and silver; visit the fissures. For datolite, the Delaware has been a good producer for years, as have the mines around Mass City and Greenland. If you're wanting one of the copper included agates, the Wolverine #2 and C&H #21 have produced excellent specimens. Lakers can be found at any beach with a little patience, although try to find someplace where people don't frequent too much.

As far as historical significance, Quincy is hard to beat because of the preservation activities there; plus it offers underground and surface tours which I would say no one visiting the Keweenaw should leave off their itinerary. The Cliff is also very significant as it was the first successful mine on the Keweenaw, and one can still find copper chisel chips in the piles from when it was done by hand underground.

If I were to list a top 5, it would go:

1. Cliff
2. Phoenix
3. Iroquois
4. Minesota
5. Central

It's almost impossible to pick just 5 though, as each place has its own unique characteristics which make them interesting.
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 12:22AM
Thanks Capt. Paul: As Scott said, "interesting facts indeed." It is always interesting to converse with someone in the know. My wife and I are both so antsy to get back up there this fall. I hope I am able to to learn the ropes about doing quality researching so I can post information worthy of this site and interesting to all the good people already posting on this site. My wife and I are going to a local rock club's meeting next Thursday evening for the first time. We are excited about meeting people with similar interests and perhaps learning more about minerals, etc.. Have a good one. Bill
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 12:33AM
    
Thanks much for the info Paul. I was just looking for your opinion, which I value highly, so that I can prepare for any future trips, in the event I don't get much time to explore. Hopefully this year will go better than last year, and I am so antsy to get up there (same as Bill), that I find myself planning way ahead of time.
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 02:53AM
I unfortunately won't be able to make it up to the Keweenaw this year as I'm taking an overseas trip this summer to Norway/Sweden. However, next year is already in the plans, but not so much for collecting as much as documenting and photographing mining locations and points of geologic interest around the state.
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 03:07AM
    
Paul,
Your plans to document sites of mining and geologic interest sounds fantastic. As I mentioned in a post somewhere previously, at times that can be just as exciting to me as collecting. I love walking around the old reclaimed sites taking in the history in the oftentimes silent woods.

Of course, Norway and Sweden sounds pretty good too!
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 03:15AM
It's been a pet project of mine for several years now. I want to make sure the sites are noted and documented in their present day form before nature reclaims them and all identity of them, except for what is written down in historical records, is lost. It has been interesting to note the local geology around each individual mining location as well, and what the first miners may have saw that made them punch shafts where they did.
avatar Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 03:30AM
    
Sounds like a great project Paul. If you need some company next year when you are up there, let me know. smiling smiley

I would be happy to tag along and learn a bit, if the timing worked out.
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 06:29AM
Scott,
Thanks for posting the Copper Country Explorer website. I hadn't seen that one before. The Copper Country Rock and Mineral Club published a 44 page book that probably has a lot of the information you are looking for. It's titled "Red Gold & Tarnished Silver", Mines and Minerals of the Lake Superior Copper District 2nd Edition. Steve and Sandi Whelan list 120 mines they have collected at for over 30 years. A chart provides the mine name and what minerals were present. There is also a set of hand drawn maps that will get you close to the mine. There are also some good articles by people from MTU on area mineralogy, copper crystal structure, & datolite. You can contact Steve through his website.dealer website. I think they were available from the club for $10 plus shipping, Steve can verify.
Cheers,
Jim
Re: Keweenaw Co., Michigan, USA
February 11, 2012 09:38AM
I recommend reading "Old Reliable" by Lankton and Hyde. The story of the Quincy Mining Company and environs. Many maps and old photos.

And, in my quest to obtain a native gold specimen from as many states as possible, can someone get a Michigan gold?

Even placer. It's fun to see patterns in Au:Ag ratios to speculate on provenance of origin.

Bart
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