Copper Range Railroad Virtual Exhibit Now Available

Early construction on the Copper Range Railroad, undated.

In October 2018 the Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Collections launched its traveling exhibit, Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula: The Formative Years of the Copper Range Railroad. The first installation took place in the Van Pelt and Opie Library from October 2018 – May 2019, then traveled the Upper Great Lakes from June 2019 – June 2020. The physical exhibit is currently on display at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw in Houghton, Michigan.

In an effort to make the exhibit more accessible to railroad enthusiasts outside of our local region, the Michigan Tech Archives is pleased to announce a digital exhibit for Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula. Like the panels, the online exhibit is divided into six sections that document the early years of the Copper Range Railroad, from the founding of the road until its initial expansion beyond the main line. The exhibit also provides a glimpse beyond the formative years, including the impact of the decline of mining in the area, the school train runs, and the dissolution of the company. The digital exhibit may be found on our website.

Becoming the Pride of the Upper Peninsula was made possible in part by the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission Heritage Grant Program. The research was conducted in the Michigan Tech Archives by Michigan Tech alumnus, Jeremy Whitman. The exhibit portal was designed by David Holden, Manager for Technology and Innovation at the J. Robert Van Pelt and John and Ruanne Opie Library. The graphical design of Engine No. 29 was created by Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics. A special thanks to all who have helped make this project possible.

The physical exhibit is still available to be loaned to regional host sites on a monthly or quarterly basis. To schedule the exhibit for your museum or library, please contact the University Archivist, Lindsay Hiltunen, at or call (906) 487-3209.