Eastern Extent of Cliff’s Stamp Mill: Part 1
At the opposite end of things in the stamp room area of the mill site we have another excavation going. I am interested in seeing just how long the stamp room was. According to historic photos the stamp room extended eastward more than the wash-house did. The two buildings therefore made a “T” shape. The stamp room of the Cliff mill held (at its greatest capacity) 32 stamps. From photos the structure is a wood-framed building, with post construction and little evidence of stone foundation walls.
The excavation was set up as a 0.5 x 3 meter trench to hopefully bisect both the interior and exterior of the building, while also avoiding (as best as possible) two stands of trees. The narrow width of the trench is risky; you might miss a post, a door, or really anything. But if you place it right, you should at minimum get a look at both interior and exterior. Lucky for me (and really, I’ve been gifted with more luck than I deserve at this site over the years), we were able to get the best of everything.
The western half of the trench quickly showed a heavily damaged wood surface consisting of nails and window glass. My initial guess was that this was the ceiling. What was found underneath indicates I’m right. Under the damaged wood was a layer of copper-infused clay-like material sitting just above a milled wood surface. This would be the floor, at minimum the floor at the edge of the building.
The eastern half could not be more different.
If you would like to see more historic images of Cliff and the Copper Country, check out the Keweenaw Digital Archives of Michigan Technological University: