When I awoke it was hours before dawn, I was freezing, and I could hear something...a noise that wasn’t there before. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was the wrath of the Ice Water Mansion--the frozen lake had turned over in the night and the harbor ice was gone--angry waves now pounded the beach a mere couple hundred yards from my car and lashed out at the old town of Marquette with a whipping wind that blew the snow around horribly. The temperature had dropped severely, and the dim streets were deserted except for the ferocious wraiths of snow that now slashed against and around the gorgeously carved sandstone buildings of the grand old port city. This was the real Yoopee weather I had come to see.
I immediately fired over my car’s engine, scraped the windows off, and found coffee before launching westward to the Keweenaw. I was anxious to get my usual Finnish breakfast at the Soumi Bakery in Houghton. That was the one thought that kept me focused and alert as I catapulted through the twisty-turnies of Baraga County in the dark. The snow was driving, I could barely see the marginally-plowed road, and yet every now and then I would hear the long low mournful moan of a lumber hauling rig coming up from behind to overtake me at 65mph in the dark while going uphill through steep, curving mountain passes (such as Michigan has, anyway).
Daylight never really came, it just got less pitch-black out (this seemed to be the normal routine as my vacation progressed) and the snow continued to fall from the grey sky.
Anyway I reached Calumet at about 9:30am, and tried to use a payphone to call Mike. It was dead. So I had to ask around, and a guy who had a can of Miller Lite in the cupholder of his Chrysler said there was a working payphone in the Northend Bar. Which was open at this hour...
This I think is the remnants of a rock house, which is where the extracted ore from the shaft would be dumped into railroad cars:
While starting as an independent mine in 1897, the vast share of its stock was quickly gobbled up by the Copper Range Consolidated Company. In 1917 Copper Range took the rest, and the mine became the company’s flagship mine. The Baltic was the first to exploit the rich Baltic Lode (from which the mine was named) that started just southeast of South Range. The lode continued on for miles to the south-west, feeding the future Trimountain and Champion mines as well. Together with those later mines, the Baltic formed the backbone of the second largest mining company ever to exist on the Keweenaw.Somewhere under our feet were the remnants of this scene, captured over 100 years ago. Alas, all the shafts here at Baltic have been capped, and were buried under snow.
The first shaft sunk along the Baltic Lode was sunk at the wrong angle, and quickly passed through the lode and into trap rock. It turned out that the Baltic was the steepest lode along the Keweenaw, dropping down into the earth at an angle which was nearly vertical--73º in fact. Three new shafts were quickly sunk (this time at the right angle) to the north, these being the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 shafts. It wasn’t until 1906 that the mine’s southernmost shaft was started to tap the riches missed by the abandoned No. 1--a shaft we know today as the No. 2. This single shaft would go on to furnish half of the Baltic’s total copper production.We stuck around in the vicinity of the #3 and #2 shafts.
The Stella Cheese Company began its life from a small farm factory in Lake Nebagamon, Wisconsin in 1917. The company soon expanded, setting up plants throughout northern Wisconsin. Around 1933 the company began to open plants in the Upper Peninsula, one in Mass City and another in a series of abandoned mine buildings at the old Baltic Mine location.
Check out this drift that was hanging down over the window:
CLICK for part three
A Guide to Michigan's Historic Keweenaw Copper District, by Lawrence Molloy, pg. 50-51 & 54
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, An Inventory of Historic Engineering and Industrial Sites, HAER (1978), pg.7