Photo Gallery Friday: Mohawk Stamp Mill Ruins and Historic Schoolhouse in Gay
On our recent trip to the Upper Peninsula, we had the opportunity to do some exploring in the Keweenaw Peninsula. We stopped at the Bete Grise Beach and Mendota Lighthouse before heading to Haven Falls and then around Lac LaBelle and down the Lake Superior shoreline. We made a quick stop at Tobacco Falls and then as we entered the small town of Gay, we saw a lone smokestack sticking out above the trees next to a sign reading “Mohawk Stamp Mill 1900-1932.” This piqued our curiosity, so we stopped and did some exploring and were surprised to find ruins on par with what we found last year at Freda and Fiborn Quarry.
This mill once featured three sets of stamps and three crushing rolls, which could produce 500 tons each day. The Mohawk Mill was one of the more profitable during the Keweenaw copper boom, and it was able to pay a dividend for 15 consecutive years. It reached a maximum output of more than 20 million pounds at its peak productivity. Houses and other buildings sprang up around the mill, including a schoolhouse. The town was named for Joseph E. Gay, who was once president of the mining company. Today the town is just a quiet shadow of what it used to be – with the Gay Bar (seen below) being one of the top local attractions.
We hope you enjoy our collection of photos from our brief stop, and we encourage all Keweenaw visitors to get out and soak up the history of the mining industry while using caution not to disturb historic sites or risk injury.