Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunk in Michigan's Copper Country

This is a sketch that I did Sunday when I was in Michigan's Upper Peninsula's copper country. The sketch is of a dredge that was one of two that was used in the early 1900s to recover stamp sands from the bottom of Torch Lake in Lake Linden, Michigan. Stamp sands were the by-product of crushing rock from the Keweenaw Peninsula's copper mines to extract copper.  Two large stamping facitities, now abandoned and in ruins, are on the shore of Torch Lake. As was done in that day, the stamp sands were disposed of by dumping them in Torch Lake. The dumping ultimately resulted in a toxic lake...caused by the copper that remained in the stamp sands.

As the mines began to play out and shut down, mine owners realized that they could reprocess the stamp sands and extract the copper that the sand still held. So the Calumet and Hecla mining company built two dredges to suck stamp sand from the lake for reprocessing. This dredge lies partially sunk, rusting, and in ruins close to the shore of Torch Lake. The other dredge sunk in the lake, where it remains today.


  1. What a derelict relic, Dave! Interesting history told by a great drawing and narrative.

  2. Love old machinery! Like the history background. It just so happens we're going to catch a ferry from Copper Harbor to Isles Royale later this month for a quick vacation. That's this same area. I'll study a map for where this sketch was drawn.


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