It’s not Michigan’s first mine, but it definitely is one of our oldest: it’s the Delaware Mine in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

The mine began operations in 1847 and lasted until 1887. Although it cranked out eight million pounds of copper during those four decades of mining, it never made a profit - which did not make the investors very happy. Even so, it has become one of Michigan’s most legendary and famous old copper mines. The mine had a total of five shafts, with the deepest one going down 1,400 feet.

In 1881, sensing the end of the mine’s days were on the horizon, the Delaware Mining Company did some shuffling and re-emerged as the Conglomerate Mining Company. Approximately $4,000,000+ was spent by the company in an attempt to keep going and show some kind of profit. They gave up and shut down operations between 1884-1887.

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The photo gallery below shows vintage photos of the town and mine, the prehistoric mine, down into the mine, old miner equipment, and building ruins.

The curious among us can visit and take either guided or self-guided tours of the Delaware Mine. You can check out the ruins of two old mine buildings, engines, equipment, and trains. And yes, you can go into the mine. A stairway takes you down one hundred feet into Shaft #1 where you can take your time and wander through. You’ll come across veins of copper jutting out of the mine walls.

Lots of history for all to experience – and if you bring along some bored, uninterested kids (and we all know that happens), there are still things there to keep them occupied…like a picnic area and petting zoo. The mine is open for you to scope out every June through October, and there is plenty to see and experience as you will see in the photo gallery below.

Back To The Delaware Mine


Ghost Town of Clifton (Cliff & Cliff Mine)

Abandoned Unknown Mine, Upper Peninsula

Inside An Old 1860 Copper Mine


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