Oct 07-04

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2004: October: Oct 07-04
Mining mementos    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by W.R.Maki

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 04:13 am:

If you're wondering about the note on the previous page...'stop at Mass'... we're not referring to church :o) I'm talking about Mass, MI, which is over on the western end of the U.P., near Ontonagon. That's where W.R. Maki brings us today, through the lens of his camera. The Caledonia Native Copper Mine is said to be one of only two underground operating copper mines in the United States, and the only one offering collecting trips. It also has the distinction of being the only operating one in Michigan. The word operating, meaning that it is mined for specimens instead of bulk ore as it was when it was a fully operational mine. This treasure trove is now owned by Red Metal Minerals who offer private tours for the rock collector or geologist in us all!

By fall color watcher on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 04:21 am:

Great little spot for a picture. Especially from up above Mass on the Mass Bluff.
First Post

By Joe on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 05:10 am:

Great Picture

I didn't know that that town exhisted , Now I have go there and see it for myself .


By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:11 am:

I would love to tour there. I remember Copperama well, but I can't remember where it was! LONG time ago, but toured it several times.

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:16 am:

Looking at the Red Metal Minerals site reminds me... To this day, I have a box of polished rocks that my Cousin Linda gave me, when I was little. Some of you may have known her. She owned the Gas Station at the corners of Union Street, and Stanton, in Mohawk, with her husband, Charlie. The rocks are cool and there's a piece of copper in there too!

By anita,lp on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:17 am:

morning all. Caledonia was the street I grew up on.

By Frances S Georgia on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:26 am:

I'v never seen a real mine. I enjoy the photo.

By Mary, Ohio on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:37 am:

Good Morning. Your're all up early this morning. I often have to leave for work before the day's picture is posted. We only spent a couple of days in the northwest UP last year but we're hooked. Unfortunately we can't get up there more regularly, though we do get to the Mackinac area a couple or three times a year. I absolutely love this site and all of the pictures. Makes me feel as though I'm there too and what a sense of peace most of the pictures impart! Thanks to all who contribute.

By smf in troll land on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:44 am:

Good morning everyone!

By Margaret, Amarillo TX on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:44 am:

I agree with Mary. Love to see those colors coming along. Looks like fall is "hitting" the mine.

By NKR Mishawaka IN on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:47 am:

Good morning from Mishawaka IN. 50 degrees this morning and going to get up to 75 degrees. Was the mine operational back in the 1950's? When my family was up in Copper Harbor, we went to a mine and got to go down in it. It was neat.

By Axel Riemer, Cleveland OH on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 06:55 am:

Hey Mary, I couldn't agree more! Ohio just doesn't have the same feel as the UP at all.. I can't wait until Thanksgiving so I can get a little closer to the color (Wisconsin comes a close second to da UP)! I need to start checking the picture more often, i worked right through the posting:) Happy fall, all!

By Former Mohawk Guy on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:26 am:

That was back when the gas station on the corner of Union and Stanton provided shelter while waiting on the school bus for the trip to CHS, also a gathering place for the young and old.

By Brent, Rochester, NY on a crisp morning on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:32 am:

Do the offer tours in the mine? I love going down in those things. My wife doesn't like it so much though. We visited the Timmins Gold Mine in Ontario a few years ago. When we returned to the Mine Dry at the surface, she found that someone stole her brand new Nikes. (I told her to use the rental locker. But did she listen?)

Colors are starting to change here in the glorious western UPstate region of NY.

By Gary,New Jersey on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:40 am:

Mine Tours are a must when in the UP. We went on the Quincy tour when my son graduated from Tech. We still talk about the tour, that was 4 years ago. That should be a required tour for in coming Freshman.

By Phyllis M, Rockford IL on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:45 am:

Good Morning! Right outside of Rockford we have a small community called Caledonia started by Scottish settlers - is this the same reason that this town was named? Have a great day!

By Mine nut too on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:06 am:

Perfectly framed, with excellent contrast - Should be used in a promo.

By Lorelei on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:28 am:

Good Morning Everyone,
What a beautiful ride to work this morning. The colors are truly breath taking between Painesdale and South Range.

That's funny, I think I am starting to feel sick. I think I may have to go home :)

By Bill, stuck in Illinois on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:36 am:

I have alway heard that the Ontonogan bolder (a big mas of copper) was found in the river near mass hence they name of the town. Is this the truth or another great UP story?

By Judi CC WI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:44 am:

Great photo. As kids when we went wild berry picking, we would store out lunch and Kool-Aid in 'ice caves',in old mines, not far from here. Great memories of growing up in Mass City. Thanks Wade, judikkuna

By Bob P - West Bend, WI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:58 am:

Good morning all from beatiful West Bend Wisconsin. We had a hard frost two nights ago and we are starting to get some great color. How are the colors in the Keewenaw?

By PSmitSC on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:58 am:

Ranger III-I notice in the Mich Tech View Cam that the Ranger is not at the dock much of the time even though the NPS web site indicates that it completed the Isle Royale runs in mid Sept. What is it used for when not engaged in runs to Isle Royale? How large a crew maintains it during the winter months?

By Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:02 am:

GARY FROM NJ: Where in Jersey are you from? (Please reply by E-Mail).

By ert, GA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:34 am:

I have a copper bracelet that I bought at a mine in the UP in '67. Toured the mine also. But I don't think it was this one. Would there have been another one at that time?

By Kate, CA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:39 am:

Ahhhhhhhhh, some autumn color.....thanks, I needed that!

By Lily, MI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:49 am:

To Brent, Rochester, NY: I agree whole heartedly with your comment "glorious western upstate region of NY". It is one of the most beautiful areas I've travelled through. No place beats New England's Autumn foliage.

By Dave Freeze Elkhart In on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:00 am:

To Bill in Illinois

Yes the story of the Ontonogan boulder is true. It was first seen by the Native Americans in the area. After the white man arrived several attempt were made to remove it. Julius Eldred from Detroit and Jim Paul from Wisconsin both tried to get the boulder down stream. There was a major dispute over the ownership. Eldred ended up paying Paul $1800.00 for the "right of possession". Paul took his money and built the first tavern in Ontonogan.
Then the government became involved. Eldred was allowed to take the boulder to Detroit where the government allowed him to display it for a while. Later the government paid Elderd $5,654.00 "for his troubles." The boulder is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. The boulder and Douglas Houghton's reports on the copper in the area are credited with starting the "Copper Rush" in the UP. The source for this information is the book entitled "The Cliff" by Donald Chauput.

By Norm FL on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:27 am:

Hay Wade, any birds on the way to Caledonia?

By shelly/Yankee in Texas on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:48 am:

Good Morning from Houston!!

By fall color watcher on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:49 am:

Brent in Rochester they do not offer mine tours in the Caledonia Mine, but there is another one in Mass City called Adventure Copper Mine and they offer tours all year long.Here is there phone number 906-883-3371. You can call for any information you may need. There is also a trail that goes past the Caledonia Mine, but you need to have a 4-Wheel drive to get it..........it is very rough ..........but enjoyable this time of the year.........Some people will probably not recommdend anyone who doesn't know the area, not to even attempt it. So take precautions before doing any 4 wheeling of that sort. Because there are alot of rough roads on the trail, plus you have to cross over a river also......but it is usually low, so you can usually get over it.

By Mary Ellen, Illinois on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:01 am:

I thought the Adventure Mine Tours were discontinued this past year when the property owners retired. I'd sure be happy to hear that the tours have resumed.
I'm driving to Mass from Chicago tomorrow night, so I'm looking forward to seeing some of those autumn colors over the weekend!

By Trish, WA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:07 am:

Nice photo- What happened in Mass regarding the copper
strikes early in the 1900's? Why is it now called Mass City?
to ert in GA, I still have a 60's-era copper charm bracelet I
got as a kid-with a miner, a shafthouse, a Michigan plaque,
a tiny Fort Wilkins, a lighthouse and the aeriel lift bridge.

By BT,TC on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:32 am:

ert...It may have been the Arcadian Copper Mine in Hancock/Ripley area. That was a cool tour...remember it well as a kid...wasn't there a guy named Arvo Wallitalo (sp?) that ran it?

By RCW on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:42 am:

Back in the 60s myself and 2 friends snowshoed in to the Caledonia and would crawl in thru the prehistoric shaft. I still have 2 rock hammers found there also. The main entrance would be iced in. We would spent many hours searching for Dadolite. Boy was there ever a lot of Bats!!!!

By ert, GA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 12:05 pm:

Arcadian -- that may be it. We went up to the Keewanaw one weekend -- it was great. You know, I may even have some photos -- will have to look.

Trish, my bracelet is just a bangle; yours sounds cool.

By RCM on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 12:12 pm:

If your looking to tour a mine, check out the Delaware Mine on the way to Copper Harbor.

Go to the pasty.com home page, there is a link to their web page:


By Char, WI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 12:21 pm:

The Adventure Copper Mine in Greenland (near Ontonagon) has
new owners and they are planning to reopen the mine for tours
in the spring of 2005.

By jkf - Columbia MO on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 01:21 pm:

Great to have something from Mass. My mothers family lived in Mass.

By Jimmer in Houghton on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 01:51 pm:


It looks like they are nearing completion on the construction near the lift bridge in Houghton!?!

Construction near the Portage Lake District Library on Montezuma should be done by the end of next week. Hurrah x 2!

By Brent, UPstate NY on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 02:28 pm:

C'mon everyone! BE FLUFFY! It's close to election time, opinions are gonna slip out now and then.

Thanks for the info on the mine tours everyone.

And Lily: It is beautiful here in autumn. I think the upstate is similar to the UP in a lot of ways except for lack of mining and liberals running state government. (ha ha)

I'm writing a tour guide book on Rochester. If anyone cares to take a look go to
http://www.tourtheloop.com at the end there is an email link so you can leave me feedback. Thanks.

By Patt - Mid - Michigan on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 03:13 pm:

Just walked in from 6 glorious days in the UP! Always get a thrill when arriving in Houghton and I see the Quicy Mine majestically standing accross the Portage... Though color was not peaked in the areas we were at, it was still gorgeous. Went to Teqhunemon (sp) and camped there a night, 2 nights in the Porkies, & 2 at McLain State Park. Never made it to Copper Harbor though. Sunday in the Porkies I thought we, along with the pop-up camper, were going to be blown into the lake from the high winds! Then while trekking up to the Summit there was a dusting of the "white stuff". Dinner at the Library in Houghton on Tuesday was scrumptious. We all had steaks cooked to perfection. Had to make the proverbial stop in Mackinaw to bring back fudge for the office, even if it is a little on the old side (grin) THANK YOU UP for a great time.

By Alice, Ventura, CA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 03:36 pm:

Hi- Glad to hear that someone confirmed that the Adventure Mine was in Greenland. They also skiied there. I remember going to Sauna with my cousins at their uncle's house at the Adventure Mine. I thought that their uncle ran the Adventure Mine and the Ski area, but I was young and don't remember everything as clearly anymore. I am also not sure if the uncle was an Erickson as they were or another branch of the family. Two of my Erickson cousins still live in Greenland.

By Mr.Bill on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 03:37 pm:

I cannot believe how much the colors have exploded since just yesterday on Bete Grise road between Route 41, and Mt. Bohemia. Hope that the 60% chance of showers tonight dosen't take them down.

By Ronald Oregon on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 03:53 pm:

My sister Linda found a copper stone (ingot?) in a poor rock pile
in Baltic when she was a teenager. It weighs sixteen pounds!
Solid copper.

I only just recently gave it as a gift to a friend of mine here in
Oregon who loves copper and sees copper as her spiritual
mineral. She loves it. I carried that ingot around with me from
Michigan to Kansas, to Colorado and finally to Oregon. It has a
permanent good home forever now.

It is sometimes surprising what can be found in those poor rock
piles that dot the area. Kids, climb on those rock piles!

By Paul , Webberville Troll on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 04:12 pm:

Back in the 40's, wasn't Mass one of several small schools in the UP that played basketball in class E. I don't remember exactly when Class E was dropped from the State Basketball tournaments. Seems like it was in the early to mid 50's.

By Karl for Cadillac on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 05:05 pm:

After my Dad retired, he and Mom moved to Lake Mine, just outside of Mass, where he built a house and live there till his heart got to bad and moved back to Flint area to be closer to doctors. I remember many beautiful fall's around the area up there and the bluff in Mass has great colors. Dad and Mom have passed away now and the house was sold, but memories will live in my heart forever! My wife and I lived in Ontonagon for 3 years, from '72-'75 then moved back down state, at her request. After we moved she said "it really wasn't that bad up there" but it was too late to move back...life goes on, but we go every year for color tour to Copper Country someplace, this year we just got back from Copper Harbor, great time, still lots of green, but still enjoyed ourselves.

By ed/mi on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:32 pm:

Mass City basketball was the state champs in 1955 and maybe a few other years also..

By Steve,WI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:42 pm:

Here is a look at the colors from Bond Falls yesterday. 1,colors

By jlm wi on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 07:49 pm:


By DH, Temecula, CA on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:29 pm:

Chassell Panthers Class D State Champs 56-58

Pretty amazing that two tiny towns in the UP could dominate like that. I think both were "Class E" schools before that designation disappeared.

By Nikki on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:42 pm:

Steve, WI-

Send me the file and I can upload it for you..

By ED/MI on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 08:53 pm:

1955 was a banner U.P. year!!! state champs were STEVENSON CLASS B, HOUGHTON CLASS C AND MASS CITY CLASS D.

By Dave of Mohawk on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:02 pm:

PSmit: The Ranger III is used for carrying freight and personnel back and forth to Isle Royale, until the last scheduled trip of the season which is scheduled for Oct. 26, 27, 28. After that time the Ranger will be laid up at the Houghton dock until the first trip of the 2005 season which is usually near the end of April.

By kosk in Toronto on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:02 pm:

Haven't heard from Maija or Hilary lately. Hope
everything is ok with them.

Hilary: How's your Heikki Lunta research
going? I did some folklore papers many
moons ago when I was at the Faculty of
Library Science. I looked, but can't seem to
find them. Probably in storage somewhere.
What a wonderful field you've chosen to study.
I only dabbled a bit--making bibliographies (of
course I had to read everything first!) for
folklore, folk music and folk medicine. I wrote
a number of letters to an elderly aunt (now
deceased) and learned that my grandmother
had done some cupping and was an informal
sort of Finnish-American medicine woman.
Good luck with your studies.

By Jennifer on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 09:17 pm:

mass city is named after the mass amounts of copper that came out of the mines in the area.

By Beaver from laurium on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:14 pm:

HI All

By MRM on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 10:16 pm:

RCW, oddly enough, I believe your initials are the same as a partner in the operations when I worked there in 1990 and 1991 -- At that time we mined the Caledonia approximately May to late October at that time we mined enough copper for the specimen side of the operation to create book ends, clocks, polished specimens, etc. I worked under Gary Viegehlan (may he rest in peace). Gary used the mine as his hobby as he also was a lecturer at MTU in the School of Technology. Anyone out there that worked with me reading this page. I can put the initials of the two I remember the best BJ, and MF. Oh BTW, at that time we were "card carrying employees of "Red Metal Minerals" rather than "Explorations" --- are you the same RCW who was Gary's partner? At that time we fought off many a pirate that entered the mine because of the lack of the state of the art adit of today that enters the mine at the 4th level.

By The Dam Guy, Parasite Creek on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:11 pm:

Having a somewhat iron-ic sense of humor, I call my best friend "spectacular she-matite."
While she doesn't quite get it, people in Ishpeming sometimes do...

By Joy Fl. on Thursday, October 7, 2004 - 11:17 pm:

there are tours at caledonia. we tour it this summer, had our chuch picnic there

By Posted by Me for Steve, WI on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 12:15 am:

Trying once more..
This photo was taken by Steve of Wisconsin. What a great shot!


By Steve,WI on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 12:32 am:

Thank you for posting it, I do not know why the date showed on the bottom. I don't know what you did but it worked ?

By Chris in Grand Rapids, Mich. on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 01:07 am:

Some folks were discussing the Greenland/Mass City area here, so I decided to post a snippet of one of my maps to give a frame of reference for those unfamiliar with the area:


By Nikki today.. on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 01:12 am:


I had to decrease the size twice. I forgot the exact size that a photo must be in order to post it. You should get a gallery and post your photos there. Nice photo

By Gary, CO on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 07:24 am:

It was changed from Mass to Mass City to help prevent mail intended to go to the Michigan town from ending up in that State abbreviated as Mass. on the Eastern Seaboard.

By PSmitSC on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 07:59 am:

Dave of Mohawk-Thanks for the info. Apparently the NPS schedule is not up to date.

By RCW on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 08:31 am:

MRM. No, Im not the same RCW. Worked underground at Iriquios Mine years ago, but only rockhunted in Caledonia. As I mentioned before, there sure were a lot of Bats down there.

By MRM on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 12:46 pm:

RCW, I can confirm the bat issue. I thought it was fabulous (only after a while that is). Each spring we would head to the 4th level adit with chainsaws to cut through the ice so that we may begin another season of work. Once inside millions of bats began coming out of hibernation. At that time the mine was indeed self draining as I am sure it still is, except that the last time I was there I see there were professional steps taken to reroute the water so that it is not all frozen up at the adit in the winter any longer. Ahhhhh progress--- and improvements. When we worked the Caledonia we hauled all our ore back to Tamarack City to process the copper via chemicals (the other half of the operators, not us) or via an old but yet functional jaw crusher hand fed by me. This has been a great trip down memory lane for me, and a great way to recall my very good friend Gary Viegelahn (blasted, I misspelled his name yesterday!!). My world was never the same after his passing as he touched my life and the lives of many others, I know. Way to go by remembering the Caledonia.

By Catherine--Holland MI on Friday, October 8, 2004 - 10:30 pm:

Another stated possibility for the origin of the name Mass
is that was named after the Eastern seaboard state since
the mine parent companies and managers were from
there--at least so my 8th grade civics teacher said. Or the
copper masses. No one really knows which.

The boulder was not discovered near Mass City, it was over
on a branch of the Ontonagon River farther west. It is on
display at the Smithsonian's Natural History museum in the
mineral section OR you can see a lovely full scale replica in
the Ontonagon County Historical museum.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ on Saturday, October 9, 2004 - 02:17 pm:

Although we've talked around it in this discussion, it's useful to note that when native copper occurs in large "chunks" or "masses", it is referred to specifically as "Mass Copper".

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