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Copper Country

Copper Harbor

The village of Copper Harbor, Michigan's northernmost community, offers the visitor an opportunity to visit a truly unique Upper Peninsula community.

The discovery of huge pure copper deposits in 1843 produced the need for a government land office. In 1844, the first contingent of U.S. Army troops arrived to begin construction of Fort Wilkins to maintain law and order in the settlement of mineral prospectors.

Some of the early miners stayed on to settle the area and became the ancestors of many of the current townfolk and shop owners.

The port of Copper Harbor became one of the main shipping points for copper going out and supplies coming in. The original Copper Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1849, the present one in 1867. Much of what was built then is still there for you to see today.

Today, the range of activities and the number of businesses catering to the visitor has brought the community to it's largest population since the earliest days of the Copper Boom. This is truly a town designed for the visitor.

Copper Harbor is the gateway to Isle Royale. This unique island National Park is an archipelago of wilderness in beautiful Lake Superior. No vehicular travel ensures peace for the residents, like moose and wolves, and for the visitor, who can escape to this special place and explore by foot or boat. There are many campgrounds available and a Lodge managed by the National Forest Service. Take a boat to different parts of the island. Ferry service is available from Copper Harbor.

In the summer, take a boat tour out to the Copper Harbor Lighthouse and Museum, see Fort Wilkins, visit the remains of the Clark Mine and the ghost town of Mandan, take the boat to Isle Royale, enjoy the Estivant Pines.

Thrill to a scenic sunset cruise on Lake Superior, go deep sea fishing or scuba dive the Keweenaw Underwater Preserve. Have a marvelous meal of Lake Trout or Whitefish at one of our outstanding restaurants.

Charter a boat for a private party, photography cruise, bird watching cruise or sightseeing. Take a drive up Brockway Mountain. On a clear day you can see Isle Royale, 56 miles away, from the top of Brockway Mountain (735 feet above Lake level, and 1337 feet above sea level).

In any season, enjoy the beauties and recreational opportunities of Copper Harbor and Lake Superior.

Houghton and the Keweenaw Peninsula

Houghton, MI, located on Highway 41 in the Upper Peninsula, was named after Douglass Houghton who was Michigan's first appointed state geologist. Douglass Houghton discovered the vast copper deposits in the Keweenaw Peninsula in 1840, and the town started to grow and develop.

Houghton is the home of Michigan Technological University and the A. E. Seaman Mineralogical Museum. The Museum holds an exciting collection of minerals from the area, as well as other parts of the world and is open to the public. MTU, with approximately 6,100 students, is one of the top engineering schools in the world.

You will see many turn-of-the-century buildings made from Jacobsville sandstone as you drive down the main street.

Especially noteworthy are the Court House, the Douglass House built in 1860, and the many area churches. Architectural students, photographers, and historians will be able to enjoy these unusual buildings.

Riverside Park is on the waterfront just west of the aerial lift bridge. Here you will find a boardwalk, picnic area, marina, playground, beach and an RV Park, which is open in the summer. The Houghton Waterfront Trail is perfect for biking, jogging, or walking, or you can paddle a section of the Keweenaw Water Trail through Portage Lake. (Map).

Wild thimbleberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries abound throughout the area. The thimb1eberry, a rare, intense showy red berry, enjoys a special place because it grows in the Upper Peninsula and Thimbleberry jam is considered quite a delicacy. If you are unable to find any, you might want to try some of the delicious jams, jellies, syrups and other berry products available.

The Isle Royale National Park Service Visitors Center is on the waterfront, just off US 41. The ferry can be boarded there for the trip to Isle Royale, an island 70 miles out on Lake Superior, which is enjoyed by hikers, campers and naturalists.

You can go biking, hiking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing or snowmobiling on the many trails that traverse the area. For snowmobilers, the Bill Nichols Trail goes from Houghton to Mass City and the Jack Stevens Trail goes from Hancock to Calumet. There are also many other groomed trails that crisscross the area. You can snowmobile right from many of your favorite motels and the lower level of the aerial lift bridge is open for travel across the waterway to Hancock.

Mount Ripley is across the bridge to the east in Hancock if you like downhill skiing. This area features a chair lift, bar lift, instruction, rental, ski shop, food, and a tobogganing and snowboard area.

Keweenaw Peninsula

The Keweenaw, The Copper Country, the land formed in the PreCambrian era, before the existence of life on the surface of the earth.The land mined by prehistoric miners, starting in 3,000 b.c., of over 1.5 billion pounds of pure copper. The land embraced by Lake Superior, the largest expanse of fresh water in the world.The land recognized as copper country by Father Claude Allouez in 1666.The land of the first mining boom, developed by the men who later were the '49ers of Gold Rush fame. The land where miners had no roads and everything came and went by ship on an unpredictable Lake Superior. The land where winter travel was by dog sled or on foot. The land owned by the Chippewas until the treaty of 1843, the land of fur traders, the voyageurs, John Jacob Astor and the American Fur Company. The land of shipwrecks, brave rescues and heroism by the Lifesaving Service. The land of solitude with our early lighthouse keepers standing their lonely vigils. The land of strong, brave and independent miners.
Welcome to the land of wonderful mineralogical features, of captivating scenery, of rugged hills, waterfalls and healthy air.
The land surrounded by Lake Superior, our Mother of Waters. The land of lighthouses, sandy beaches and agates.
The land of wildflowers, forests, camping, fish, bears, spectacular fall colors and the deepest of winters. The gateway to Isle Royale National Park.
The land of ghost-towns, old mining villages and ruins, the Estivant Pines, old cemeteries and an abundant crop of wild berries.
The land of pasties, churches, mining shafthouses, the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company and the mining tycoons who operated it.

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