Quincy Mining Company Stamp Mills Historic District
The Quincy Mining Company Stamp Mills Historic District is a historic stamp mill
Stamp mill
A stamp mill is a type of mill machine that crushes material by pounding rather than grinding, either for further processing or for extraction of metallic ores. Breaking material down is a type of unit operation....

 (used to crush copper-bearing rock, separating the copper ore from surrounding rock) located on M-26
M-26 (Michigan highway)
M-26 is a state trunkline highway in the U.S. state of Michigan, running from two miles east of Rockland to its junction with US Highway 41 in Copper Harbor. It generally runs southwest-to-northeast in the western half or Michigan's Upper Peninsula...

 near Torch Lake
Torch Lake (Houghton County, Michigan)
Torch Lake is approximately 2,700 acres lying mostly within Torch Lake Township and having portions within Osceola Township and Schoolcraft Township. The lake is fed by the Traprock River....

, just east of Mason
Mason, Houghton County, Michigan
Mason is a small community in Houghton County, Michigan that is the remainder of past Stamp mill operations at the Quincy Mining Company Stamp Mills. Still standing and mostly occupied are 23 mining company houses, all along M-26. Mason has been dubbed by some locals "shutter town," because each...

 in Osceola Township
Osceola Township, Houghton County, Michigan
Osceola Township is a civil township of Houghton County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,908 at the 2000 census.-Communities:...

. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 in 2007.

Original stamp mill (1860 - 1888)

The original Quincy Stamp Mill was built in 1860 on Portage Lake
Keweenaw Waterway
The Keweenaw Waterway is a partly natural, partly artificial waterway which cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan; it separates Copper Island from the mainland. Parts of the waterway are variously known as the Keweenaw Waterway, Portage Canal, Portage Lake Canal, Portage River, Lily Pond,...

 in Hancock
Hancock, Michigan
Hancock is a city in Houghton County; the northernmost in the U.S. state of Michigan, located on the Keweenaw Peninsula, or, depending on terminology, Copper Island. The population was 4,634 at the 2010 census...

, close to the Quincy Mine
Quincy Mine
The Quincy Mine is an extensive set of copper mines located near Hancock, Michigan. The mine was owned by the Quincy Mining Company and operated between 1846 and 1945, although some activities continued through the 1970s. The Quincy Mine was known as "Old Reliable," as the Quincy Mine Company paid...

. This facility, however, dumped an enormous amount of sand tailings
Tailings, also called mine dumps, slimes, tails, leach residue, or slickens, are the materials left over after the process of separating the valuable fraction from the uneconomic fraction of an ore...

 into the lake, and the sand soon threatened to encroach on the navigable channel of the lake. In the mid-1880s, the federal government set minimum harbor lines and stiff penalties for breaching them, and eventually filed suit against the Quincy Mine for dumping in Portage Lake. In addition, Quincy was in the process of acquiring the nearby Pewabic Mine, and management knew they would need to increase the company's stamping capacity.

Stamp mills require a large amount of water to operate, and so are invariably located near a large body of water; this limited the range of sites in which a new mill could be placed. After some analysis, the Quincy management decided on Torch Lake as the site for the new mill and purchased 300 acres on the shore, some six miles east of the previous location.

Construction of stamp mill (1888 - 1894)

Work began on the new stamp mill in 1888. The first building constructed was a boarding house, followed by a dock, cistern, and foundations for other buildings. In 1889, six substantial frame buildings were constructed on site, as well as a railway connecting the stamp mill to the mine, and stamping equipment was installed. Mill number one was a wooden structure measuring 198 feet by 120 feet. The pump and boiler house were located on the south side of the roadway that is now M-26. It was a stone structure measuring 154 feet by 56 feet. An elevated conduit carried water and steam over the road to the mill, and handling facilities were built at the dock. The facility was completed and opened for milling in 1890. The site originally had two stamps; a third was added immediately after opening, and two more were added in 1892.

More structures were added to the site over time, beginning with extensions to the dock in 1890 and 1891, an addition to the boiler house in 1891, and additions to the mill in 1891 and 1892. In all, the Quinct Mine spent $457,000 between 1888 and 1894 in constructing and equipping their new mill site, of which $182,000 went to the mill and its stamping equipment.

Second mill and additions (1894 - 1922)

However, as early as 1894, mine production oustripped the capacity of the mill, and a new mill was planned.
The second stamp mill was built just north of the first; this mill was an iron-framed structure measuring 132 feet by 216 feet. It was constructed in 1899 by the Wisconsin Bridge and Iron Company at a cost of $22,450. The second mill opened in late 1900 with three mills. To service the additional capacity, new boiler and pump house buildings were also constructed. Over the next two decades, minor alterations were made to the structures of the complex (including the erection of a new 175-foot smokestack for the boilerhouse in 1916) while the milling process and machinery were continuously refined.

However, the rise in the price of copper during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 provided both impetus and resources for expansion of the site. Reinforced concrete and brick additions to both stamp mills were constructed in 1919; the addition to mill no. 1 was 123 feet by 215 feet, and the addition to mill no. 2 was 91 feet by 132 feet. The additions were equipped and functioning by 1920. The mill also changed their production of electrical power, building a structure to house a new turbine near mill no. 1. Construction on the new building, a brick structure measuring 36 feet by 38 feet by 45 feet high, began in 1921; the turbine was online in 1923.
1890-1925 Images

Decline (1922 - present)

However, the mill began to decline after the end of the war. In 1922, the second mill was closed. Additional equipment was installed in mill no. 1 as technology improved, including labor-saving devices installed in 1929 and 1930. However, the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 hit the mining industry hard, and the Quincy Mine closed in 1931, shuttering the Stamp Mills.

As the Depression wound onward, copper prices rebounded, and the mine and mills were refurbished in late 1937 and re-opened on a limited scale in early 1938. However, the mine was only barely profitable, and after World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

ended, and with it the price guarantees from the federal government, the mine and stamp mills closed permanently.

Mill number two was demolished early, as well as the original portions of mill number one, but the later additions to mill number one remain.
1978 Images

2010 Images
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