Tech Researchers to Give Tours of Keweenaw’s Cliff Mine

Industrial archaeologists from the Department of Social Sciences will conduct three tours of the Cliff Mine site on the next three Saturdays, June 12, June 19 and June 26.

The storied mine is just west of Phoenix, on Cliff Drive, a half mile from the intersection of Cliff Drive and US 41.  The Cliff Mine operated between 1845 and 1870 and is often referred to as the nation’s first great copper mine.

Michigan Tech students and faculty have been mapping the site since early May. They have removed some brush to facilitate measuring, mapping, photographing, documenting, and otherwise assessing 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 buildings.

The Tech team is giving the tours while working the three remaining Saturdays in June. Tours will start on the hour, with the first at 10 a.m. and the last at 4 p.m.

Sean Gohman, a graduate student and the project assistant, is putting all the maps and documents of the site into a digital Geographic Information Systems format, which will allow the research team to understand the changes to the Cliff Mine’s landscape through time. Gohman has been blogging about his work at: .

The site is unimproved, and visitors should expect a moderately difficult hike to see the mill and principle ruins. The site has no drinking water or toilet facilities. Extended hikes to the Cliff’s No. 3 and No. 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 on each day’s work schedule.

Visitors who choose to climb to the top of the bluff should expect a short, but strenuous climb up and down a poor trail.  For more information, contact Timothy Scarlett, associate professor of archaeology and director of graduate programs in industrial heritage and archaeology, at 414-418-9681 or at .

Published in Tech Today.