GREENLAND, Mich. (WJMN) – Located outside of Ontonagon, lies a living piece of history that shows how the Copper Country got its name.
“So we officially opened in 1850,” said Sarah Aardal, Tour Guide, Adventure Mining Company. “The Copper Rush out here typically ranges between starting around between 1843 and 1848. The first couple months here, everything seemed really promising. The copper here is found in huge veins of the solid copper, which on paper that sounds really good, but unfortunately that makes it very difficult to remove. And so that was kind of our downfall, that our copper here is too large and too pure. And so it was just a lot of looks like trying to stay afloat and break even but eventually weren’t able to do that. And in 1920, we had to shut down and the bank reclaimed some property so at the end of the experience, Adventure Mining Company was doomed to failure. For a long time the mine was just pretty much the sphere locals were able to just come in and do whatever they wanted. And that’s really not good. Especially because if people get lost, fall, and it’s just not safe, not cool. And it was eventually bought up in I believe the ’70s and they also started doing tours around that time. It wasn’t nearly as commercialized as we are here. So like swapped hands for a couple more times after that. But then about 2005 the man that signs my paychecks, brought it up and so yeah, he turned it into what we see here today.”
With four various mine tours to pick from, Aardal shares some of her favorite things you can experience underground.
“In level one there is a really cool stope that is about 300 feet tall and at the top you can see, we call it the skylights so you can see daylight from that,” said Aardal. “Also, just the fact there’s like a little nugget of silver and one of the pillars that we can see there’s just like that’s what jewelry is made out of.”
In its 70 years of operation, the miners extracted more than 11 million pounds of native copper but tour guides say it is estimated there is more than 50% of the copper and silver still left in the mine. Even though the mining days are over, when visiting, you’re still able to take some U.P. made metal home.
“So everything on this table here is local copper, everything in the display case is also local,” said Aardal. “This shelf and this shelf, with a couple of half breeds in here are from our mine.”
If you’re interested in taking a tour of your own, the best way to do so is to book online. For more information, click here.