In 1843, six years before the Forty-niners headed west for the goldfields of California, the United States’ first great mineral rush began to a land that was, as Patrick Henry told Congress, “beyond the most distant wilderness and remote as the moon.” He was referring to the Keweenaw Peninsula of northern Michigan. This rush was not for gold or silver, but for copper. And not just any copper, but native copper, so pure it required little refining before use. The early horde of fortune-seekers came with visions of finding mountains of solid copper, spurred on by stories of large masses of “float copper” that included the famous Ontonagon Boulder, a large mass of native copper originally found lying 32 km up the steep and rugged valley of the Ontonagon River (and now gathering dust in the Smithsonian Museum).
|Title||Book review: Hollowed ground—Copper mining and community building on Lake Superior, 1840s–1990s|
|Authors||Klaus J. Schulz|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Economic Geology|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Eastern Mineral and Environmental Resources Science Center|