Michigan Roadside Attractions: Quincy Dryhouse Ruins, Hancock
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 the unusual.
The Quincy Mine was one of the most profitable copper mines in the Keweenaw Peninsula and had a successful career that ran from the 1840s to the 1940s. In some of our other posts we’ve taken a look at Quincy Mine Tours and how you can visit the Number 2 Hoist House and the seventh level of the mine, as well as the Quincy Dredge #2 in the waters of Torch Lake. Today we take a look at the Quincy Dryhouse Ruins, an easy-to-miss yet fun to explore site across the road from the mine.
As you head north on U.S. 41 leaving Hancock, it’s impossible to mis the Quincy Mine on the east side of the road. The #2 Shafthouse towers over the landscape, where the ruins of numerous mine buildings give a glimpse at how sprawling this complex once was.
On the opposite side of the road are the Quincy Dryhouse Ruins, marked with little more than a National Park Service sign and a small driveway. I can’t tell you how many times we passed by this awesome site without stopping, but now that we know it’s there we make sure to visit any time we bring new visitors to the Upper Peninsula.
From the National Park Service: “The Quincy Mine provided dryhouses where miners could change into work clothes at the beginning of a shift and back into home clothes at the end of the day. At the end of shift, miners could wash up, while work clothing was hung to dry. You may notice different colors of mortar, which may indicate previous preservation efforts. This dryhouse was a two-story structure made from poor-rock.”
The roof is long gone, but the walls remain. The windows openings here make for some great photo opportunities. Next time you head to the Keweenaw, don’t miss this easy to find look into the past and find some Instagram-worthy shots for yourself! the Quincy Dryhouse Ruins can be seen on the map below, between Frech Town Rd. and No. 2 Rd. As you head north on U.S. 41, turn left on No. 2 Rd. and look for the parking area on a dirt road shortly after you turn. The ruins will be visible. It is illegal to remove anything from this site as it is park of the national park.
You will want to make sure you have proper footwear on for visiting the ruins. Boots or good shoes are recommended as there are some pieces of metal and rock that could be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention.
A plaque near the north end of the ruins gives a little bit more of the history of the mine, and shows a layout of how the entire property was set up when the mine was in operation. As you wander the ruins try and think of how many people once came in and out of this building each day!