White Pine is one of those Upper Peninsula towns that is mostly made up of street after street of old miners’ houses. There is no downtown area, and there are only a few business establishments scattered around the area, not even in one place…just kind of willy-nilly.

White Pine was a station on the Chicago, Minneapolis & St. Paul Railroad in Ontonagon County. The town was created when the mining began; Thomas Wilcox discovered a vast amount of copper in the Mineral River and set out to mine it. He formed the White Pine Copper Company and elected himself as the superintendent.

The town was named when a post office began operating in 1915. Five years later, the mine was closed but re-opened in 1946. The post office, which had been shut down also, came back to life in 1954.

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Not only was White Pine a railroad stop, but it was necessary to turn it into a housing community for all the mine workers and their families by the 1950s. There were eateries where one could go out to eat, but to actually buy groceries, the closet grocer was nineteen miles away in Ontonagon. The company believed building these homes for their workers would keep them around, staying with the company for a longer period of time. Even so, many miners preferred living elsewhere and driving the extra miles to work.

For a good forty years from 1955-1995, the White Pine Copper Company ran the mine successfully.

In 1997, the White Pine Mine stopped all operations, bringing to an end the last industrial copper mine in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

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