We got to the Quincy Mine in time for the final tour of the day. Copper was mined there from 1848 until 1945.
Many of the buildings are in ruins, but a few have been preserved/restored. We had a few minutes to tour the museum in one of the old hoist houses and get fitted with hardhats.
A serious gentleman gave us a tour of the Nordberg Mine Hoist, built in 1920 (and only in operation for 11 years). This is the machine that operated the cable that lifted men and ore in and out of the mine.
This is a blueprint of the mine. Each row is a separate level — there were 92 in all, reaching 9,260 feet into the earth. The sections shaded in white are cavities where copper was mined.
We took a tram down the hill.
As we descended, we could see the bridge between Hancock and Houghton and (way down in the lower left) the members of the previous tour waiting to go back up the hill.
At the bottom of the hill, we jumped off the tram and onto a wagon pulled by a tractor. We were taken about half a mile into level seven of the mine. (All 85 levels below this are flooded.) That’s the mine entrance in the distance behind Nate.
If you’d like to experience what we did, you can see the entire tour, with our tour guide, on YouTube. Here’s one of the cavities where copper was mined.
We were the final tour, so as we left the mine, they were shutting off the lights behind us. When the mine was in operation, this opening was used to pump water out of the lower levels.
This is the Shaft-Rock House, where ore was brought up and miners were sent up and down. The cable from the hoist stretched across the scaffolding to the shaft.
Here’s what it looked like inside.
We wandered about for another half hour looking at the ruins of other buildings.
We stopped for gas in Houghton at a station that had potatoes and carrots piled up between the pumps. We ate supper at an Arby’s nearby. It was dark when we got back to our campsite. A little more water had dripped into the tent, but none of our stuff was wet. We had been hoping to enjoy a campfire, but it wasn’t to be. We went to bed early.
I woke up around sunrise (if you can call it that) on Sunday. It was still raining. I decided I’d had enough. I woke up my family, we packed in the rain and headed for home. (Karen offered the rest of our firewood to a couple in a camper. They were the fourth ones to benefit from our purchase.) It was an odd day. We drove through eight separate rain showers during seven hours, with occasional periods of sunshine in between. The vacation hadn’t gone exactly how we’d planned, but it was hugely fun.