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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Delaware in Keweenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

The Delaware Mine

A Promise of Prosperity Unfulfilled

 
 
The Delaware Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
1. The Delaware Mine Marker
Inscription.  The Delaware mine was a failure, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Spurred on by the great success of the nearby Cliff and Central mines, the Northwest Company, the Pennsylvania Mining Company, the Delaware Mining Company, the Conglomerate Mining Company, and others all worked this location during the latter half of the 1800s. They invested heavily in the mine infrastructure and blasted their way to a depth of nearly 1,400 feet. Still they failed. Like the Phoenix mine, the Delaware was a frustrating property. Its native copper fissure veins and conglomerate lodes promised more than they delivered. Mining them cost investors more money than they made.

Delaware's population reached 1,150 in the late 1870s. Its mining operations ranked among Keweenaw County's largest and most modern, boasting two hundred or more structures. Today only a few houses remain. Since 1977, Delaware Mine Tours, located amid the mine ruins, has allowed visitors to experience a bit of mining history as they walk into the first level of the mine, 100 feet below ground.

Photos courtesy Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical
Marker detail: Delaware Location in 1897-98 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Delaware Location in 1897-98
Delaware location in 1897-98 with older shafthouse and hoist in foreground; shafthouse, rockhouse and elvated tram road in upper left; Mt. Bohemia and Mt. Houghton in the distance.
Collections, J.T. Reeder Collection.


Horace Greeley's Keweenaw Connection
As a rule, there are many easier ways of gaining gold than digging it from the earth...
—Horace Greeley, 1868, Recollections of a Busy Life

Influential newspaper editor Horace Greeley followed his famous advice, "Go west, young man," to Delaware in 1847-48 as an investor in the mine. "An old backwoodsman named Bailey" had discovered a vein of copper and offered Greeley stock in a proposed mining company. Greeley's three-year involvement in the mine included convincing others to invest. Unfortunately for the investors, Bailey's find wasn't at the Cliff or Central locations. Those mines each returned more than $2 million on investments of about $100,000. Greeley fared no better in politics, losing several elections, including the 1872 presidential race against Ulysses S. Grant. Of some consolation, perhaps, nearby Mt. Horace Greeley is named for him.
 
Erected by Western Upper Peninsula Heritage Trail.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 47° 25.466′ N, 88° 5.906′ W. Marker is near Delaware, Michigan, in Keweenaw County. Marker can be reached
Marker detail: Shafthouse and another building at Delaware, date unknown image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Shafthouse and another building at Delaware, date unknown
from Delaware Road (State Highway 586) 0.2 miles north of U.S. 41. Marker is located at the former Delaware Copper Mine site. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7804 Delaware Road, Mohawk MI 49950, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Eagle Harbor House (approx. 3.7 miles away); Eagle Harbor (approx. 3.7 miles away); Michigan DNR Marina (approx. 3.7 miles away); Eagle Harbor Entrance Channel and Range Lights (approx. 3.7 miles away); Riveted Bell Buoy (approx. 3.7 miles away); Iron-Stock Anchor (approx. 3.8 miles away); Wood-Stock Anchor (approx. 3.8 miles away); Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and Museums (approx. 3.8 miles away).
 
Also see . . .
1. Mining Legacy. Located 12 miles south of Copper Harbor, the Delaware Copper Mine dates from 1847-1887. Eight million pounds of copper were removed from the five shafts that reached a depth of 1,400 feet with ten levels. You’ll see pure veins of copper exposed in the walls of the mine. (Submitted on July 31, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Delaware Copper Mine. The Delaware Mine operated from 1847 until 1887, during the country's first major mining boom. It now serves as the perfect example of what the mines in this area were like in the 1800's. Visitors walk down 100 feet of stairs through the #1 shaft to the first level of the mine, then approximately
Marker detail: Old wooden kibbles (water buckets), with two shafthouses in background image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Old wooden kibbles (water buckets), with two shafthouses in background
1700 feet through the original workings. (Submitted on July 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
The Delaware Mine Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
5. The Delaware Mine Marker
(Delaware Mine Visitor Center & Museum in background)
Delaware Mine Tunnel image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
6. Delaware Mine Tunnel
Delaware Mine Ore Car image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
7. Delaware Mine Ore Car
Delaware Mine Machinery image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
8. Delaware Mine Machinery
Delaware Mine Powerhouse Ruins image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 3, 2017
9. Delaware Mine Powerhouse Ruins
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 66 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on July 30, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   7, 8, 9. submitted on July 31, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
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Feb. 25, 2021