Lake Superior South Shore, 2016. Part 14, Copper Harbor

LOne day we drove up to Copper Harbor way up at the very end of the Keweenaw Peninsula. the road goes right up the middle of the peninsula following the mines which all lie on a particular geological feature created by upthrust and folding.  This is where the very hot high pressure water with dissolved copper laden chemicals was forced from deep in the earth up into cracks in the rocks. The copper deposits were formed as things cooled off.  The deposits follow the slope of the upthrust layers which is why all of the mine shafts are sloped rather than vertical.

Copper Harbor has a very nice Visitor’s Center. Inside were six very nice stained glass light fixtures made with copper, brass and glass. Quite ornate for a Visitor’s Center in a very small town. even the bathrooms were done in tile and local stone and small copper tiles, about 2″x2″, spaced out along the upper part of the tiles area.

We followed a small road and then down a dirt trail towards a small water fall. From all of the signs we thought it would be a big one but it was not.  Maybe in the spring.

We stopped at Eagle Harbor to check out the old Life Saving Service Station.


The Station was manned during the shipping season.  The early equipment included shore rescue equipment and eight man row boats. By the 1920’s much more robust motor boats were used. 

During a late November storm in 1926, the men at the station were notified that a ship, the THOMAS MAYTHAM, was hung up on rocks some 40 miles away. Immediately, the rescue crew set off in their motorized boat and, after braving below-zero temperatures and towering waves, reached the ship and took on its 22 crew members. On the return trip, the lifesaving crew spotted an abandoned ghostly ship so covered with ice and snow that they barely recognized it as a ship. This was the CITY OF BANGOR which had run hard aground. Her crew had made it to shore but were in grave danger of suffering from exposure. After dropping off the men of the Maytham, the station’s crew had to return in another boat to rescue the 29 man crew of the City of Bangor and her unusual cargo, over 248 brand new Chryslers bound for Duluth. 

18 cars were lost in the storm and the cars on the decks were covered in snow and ice. A rescue mission chopped the cars free and drove them down a snow and ice ramp. Drivers were paid $5 to return the cars to Detroit for rehab. One of these cars is still at the Eagle Harbor Light House Museum.

Another interesting day, you never know what you are going to see until you stop and look.  So much gets missed in the hurry up drive by road trips.

This trip seems much faster paced to us than we would normally like. Part of that is because we are traveling with others who haven’t been here before.  And it has been nice to share this part of the country with them.

Douglas and Amanda are heading off in a different direction when we leave here. We are heading to a couple of days in the Porkies with Rudy and Carolyn and then to Bayfield and Duluth.

More later,

Roger and Susan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: