History & Culture

Copper has shaped the people and places on the Keweenaw Peninsula for thousands of years. Early native peoples began mining and using copper here over 7,000 years ago. After Europeans arrived in the area, they learned of the copper resources from the Ojibwa people. English attempts at mining began in the 1700s but at first were unsuccessful. By the 1840s however, the setting was finally ripe for "copper fever" to take hold, creating one of the first mineral mining rushes in the United States.

Though many mining ventures quickly played out, some were successful at creating an enduring industry in the remote Keweenaw Peninsula. For over 100 years, the copper mining industry played a role in shaping the lives and landscapes of people and communities. Here you can explore their stories.

Labor is a Common Thread That Connects All National Parks
A person with gloves on opens an old book.


Explore the past through museum and archival collections.

A large group of miners pose for a photograph with a poor rock pile and tall shaft building.

Working Wednesdays

Learn about the variety of occupations that kept the Keweenaw busy in the past.

Four people sit on and just off of the front porch of a house.


Discover the colorful characters of the Copper Country.

A large industrial complex at the foothills of a large hill situated along a waterway.


Explore the historic and natural landscapes found on the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Illustrated 1881 map of Calumet & Hecla property and the Village of Red Jacket

Copper Mining Timeline

Explore a timeline of Michigan copper mining from over 7,000 years ago to the present.

A large rectangular hole in the ground surrounded by tools.


Understand how we learn about people of the Keweenaw's past through what they left behind.

Last updated: May 14, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

25970 Red Jacket Road
Calumet, MI 49913


(906) 337-3168

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