Painesdale Mine & Shaft tours open for summer with new upper shaft-rockhouse tour
PAINESDALE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Painesdale Mine & Shaft nonprofit organization is offering tours of the mine’s surface area once again this summer.
The mine itself is capped, so the organization focuses on the surface area for tours.
“We focus on showing people what happened on the surface,” said Painesdale Mine & Shaft President Michael Prast. “So, we give the most in-depth surface tour of the area.”
The organization acquired the Champion #4 shaft-rockhouse in 1996 and has since worked to preserve it.
According to Painesdale Mine & Shaft, the shaft-rockhouse is the oldest remaining in the Keweenaw area. It was originally built in 1902 by the Copper Range Mining Company and enlarged to its present size in 1906, before closing in 1967.
This year, a new tour of the newly accessible upper levels of the shaft-rockhouse will be available.
“Up into the rock-crusher levels, so about 4 stories up into the building,” continued Prast. “And that’s a place that nobody else is able to tour, and we only started to be able to tour that this year. We did a lot of work over the winter to stabilize the walkways.”
Additionally, the organization got funding from Visit Keweenaw to improve the tourist experience.
“One of the things that the Visit Keweenaw grant help us do was install a large sign that will go down by the ORV trail, which runs right behind our property, and that will help give people general information about our site and help introduce people to it,” added Prast. “And then we also used the funds to clear out some of the vegetation. Since this place was abandoned, there was a lot of overgrowth that hid some of the buildings.”
Tours are available on Saturdays from noon to 4 p.m. throughout the summer until the beginning of October.
For more information about the mine, available tours and donations, check out the Painesdale Mine and Shaft, Inc. page by clicking here.
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