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Central Mining Company Townsite

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1856–1898. Off U.S. 41
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)
  • (Photograph by Balthazar Korab)

From 1856 to 1898 the Central Mining Company extracted and stamped copper taken from the rich vein of pure copper running through the midsection of Keweenaw Point, and it built here a town for the Cornish miners it employed. Indicative of the town that came to be known as Central are orderly rows of more than a dozen dwellings: the John F. Roberts House (c. 1875); the Central Methodist Church (1869), a simple wooden church with a vernacular castellated entrance tower; and foundations and ruins, rock piles, orchards, and other overgrown vegetation. Central reached a population of 1,200 in 1883, when more than 130 boardinghouses and single-family dwellings for miners and mine officials stood here. There were also engine houses, shaft houses, rock houses, a stamp mill, a woodworking and machine shop, captain's and superintendent's offices, and a tramway. Today the few remaining houses serve as primitive hunting lodges and summer camps; the church holds an annual July 21 homecoming of former Central residents and their descendants. In 1996 the Keweenaw County Historical Society acquired a thirty-eight-acre section with old houses it is rehabilitating.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Central Mining Company Townsite", [, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 496-496.

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