Michigan Roadside Attractions: Centennial No. 6 Shaft, Houghton County
Michigan Roadside Attractions is a periodic feature on Travel the Mitten that will explore the many interesting things that can be found on the highways, byways and back roads of Michigan, ranging from the interesting to unusual.
After many trips north to the Keweenaw Peninsula and driving past what looked like an old mine shaft along Us-41/M-26, we finally stopped last year to check out what turned out to be the Centennial No. 6 Shaft. The Keweenaw Peninsula is littered with the remnants of its mining past, and while most surviving structures are not in good shape or are buried in the woods, every once in awhile you can stumble across a gem like this that is almost perfectly preserved.
As we drove down the dirt road simply marked “Centennial #6 Road,” we saw little sign of human activity near the former mine site, and no signs prohibiting walking around the grounds. We took a few pictures of this historic structure, and when we got home we did a little research to find out more. You can read in detail on the Copper Country Explorer website, see more photos at substreet.org, and find out more about the kinds of specimens that were found here at mindat.org.
A small plaque helped explain some of the history: “Centennial Mine was the last of the shafts near Calumet to be abandoned and fill with water. Centennial mined the conglomerate ore body near the C & H Conglomerate Lode following the dipping rock layers deep into the earth thousands of feet from the surface.” The history of this operation dates back to the 1870s, and it was even re-activated in the 1970s in hopes of finding profits once again – though that did not materialize. Please respect the current owners by not removing any specimens from the area and following the rule of “take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
Look for the shaft and the road on the left side of the highway when heading north, it will be after Mine Rd. and before Wolverine St.
Other nearby attractions to check out:
Historic Schools of Michigan’s Copper Country
26 Sites of the Keweenaw National Historic Park