Researchers to give tours of Keweenaw’s Cliff Mine site.

A group of picnickers enjoying the Cliff Mine site at the turn of the century (the Clerk's house is in the background).

June 5, 12, 19, 26th, 10 AM to 4 PM.  Cliff Mine site on Cliff Drive, 1/2 mile from the intersection of Cliff Drive and US-41, just west of Phoenix, Michigan.

For more details, contact:

Timothy Scarlett, Associate Professor of Archaeology and Director of Graduate Programs in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology.

Sean Gohman, graduate student in Industrial Archaeology.

Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University
Industrial Archaeologists from Michigan Technological University’s Department of Social Sciences will give tours of the site of the Cliff Mine site in Keweenaw County, Michigan.  The Cliff Mine operated between 1845 and 1870 and is often referred to as the nation’s first great copper mine. The miners worked shafts located both atop and below the 200-foot greenstone bluff that spans the Keweenaw Peninsula.  At the Cliff, miners concentrated on removing mass copper, sometimes called “native” copper, which often included masses weighing more than 50 tons.

Michigan Tech students and faculty have been mapping the site since early May.  They have removed some brush to allow them to measure, map, photograph, document, and otherwise assess the condition of the ruins of the mine’s industrial core, including the stamp mill and washing house; engine, hoist, and rock houses; blacksmith shop; and other work-related buildings.  Sean Gohman, the project assistant archaeologist, is putting all the maps and documents into a digital Geographic Information Systems fomat.  The GIS will allow the research team to understand the changes to the Cliff Mine’s landscape through time.  Mr. Gohman has been blogging about his work at:

The No. 4 shaft's steam stack.

After several weeks of work, the work team is ready to show people what they have found.  They are giving site tours and inviting people to come see them while they are working every Saturday in June.  Tours will generally start on the hour, with the first tour beginning at 10 AM and the last starting at 4 PM each Saturday.

The site is unimproved and visitors should expect a moderately difficult trail hike to see the mill and principle engine house ruins.  The site has no drinking water or toilet facilities.  Extended hikes to the Cliff’s #3 and #4 shafts atop the bluff or to the cemeteries and town sites are generally self-guided, although members of the research team may be available depending upon each day’s work schedule.  Visitors that choose to climb to the top of the bluff should expect a short, but very strenuous climb up and down on a poor trail.


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About Sean Gohman

Currently a PhD Degree seeking student in the Michigan Tech University's Industrial Heritage and Archaeology program.

One response to “Researchers to give tours of Keweenaw’s Cliff Mine site.”

  1. Barry Pegg says :

    Plase put me on your “3rd Thursday” mailing list.

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