Chapin Mine Pump, Iron Mountain, MI

Cornish Pump, Iron Mountain, MI

Cornish Pumping Engine

The Cornish Pumping Engine is located at a closed mine head in Iron Mountain, MI. Though made in the United States, it was patterned after pumps used to dewater tin mines in Cornwall, England. An exhibit hall was built around the engine in 1982.
Iron Mining Museum
300 Kent St
Iron Mountain, MI 49801

The ore body of the Chapin Mine at Iron Mountain in the Menominee Range was considered unminable until it was drained by one of the largest pumping engines ever built. In 1880, miners sank a shaft through 90 feet of quicksand under a cedar swamp by freezing the soil. Mining continued at the D shaft for ten years, using conventional pumps. Eventually, Edward P. Allis Company of Milwaukee was contracted to build the gigantic pumping engine, which is now designated a landmark. This engine began operating in 1893.

The Chapin Mine pumping engine is a steeple compound condensing engine capable of lifting 200 tons of water a minute, equivalent to four million gallons a day.
[See a fact sheet about the engine from the Menominee Range Historical Foundation.]

The D shaft was pumped to a depth of 600 feet. Then the pumping engine was moved to the Ludington Mine, which had been abandoned in 1891. The Chapin engine pumped to a depth 1,513 feet at the newly designated C shaft.

["Chapin Mine Pump (1893)." The American Society of Mechanical Engineers N. vol. (N. d.): 3 pars. Online. Internet. 20 Aug. 2004. Available]

Mine Carts, Automatic Dump, Iron Mountain, MI

Mine Carts, Automatic Dump

The Cornish Pump Museum houses mining artifacts large and small.
Mine Drill, Iron Mountain, MI

Mine Drill

Pump House (new, left) -- Miners' Support Building (old, right), Iron Mountain, MI


This building was where miners changed into their work clothes before proceeding to the head frame to begin their work shift. The new exhibit hall surrounding the pump engine is to the left.
Where the Minehead Stood, Iron Mountain, MI

Site of the Head Frame

The small shed off the exhibit hall (left center) covers the end of the walking beam that supported the pump rod, which connected water cylinders on eight different levels deep in the mine.
County Courthouse, Iron Mountain, MI

Dickinson County Courthouse (1896)

Iron Mountain, MI, is the county seat of Dickinson County in the Upper Peninsula.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is also known as "The Upper Peninsula", "The U.P." (or "The UP"), and "Above the Bridge" by Michiganders, and is sometimes called "Northern Michigan" by non-Michiganders ("Northern Michigan" usually refers to the northern half of the Lower Peninsula, to Lower Peninsula residents).

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is separated from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan by the Mackinac Straits [pronounced Mackinaw], five miles across at its narrowest, and is connected to it only by the Mackinac Bridge. Until the bridge was completed [in 1957], travel between the two peninsulas was difficult and slow (and sometimes even impossible during winter months). Car ferries ran between the two peninsulas, and at the busiest times of year the wait could stretch to hours. In winter travel was only possible over the ice after complete and solid freeze-up of the straits.

The residents of the Upper Peninsula are often called "Yoopers", (from "U.P.ers"), and many consider themselves Yoopers before they consider themselves Michiganders. (People living in the Lower Peninsula are commonly called "trolls" by Yoopers, as they live "under the Mackinac Bridge.") This regionalism is not only a result of the physical separation of the two peninsulas but also the history of the area. The U.P. was not originally a part of Michigan Territory; it was given to the 30-year-old Michigan Territory in 1835 only a few years prior to statehood, as a settlement to end the Toledo War being fought between Michigan and Ohio over the city of Toledo. Before this, it had been part of Wisconsin Territory. Ohio got the city of Toledo and was considered the winner. So, not only did the Lower Peninsula of Michigan exist for 30 years without the Upper Peninsula, but the entire Upper Peninsula was considered less valuable than the city of Toledo. Today, many residents of the western half of the Upper Peninsula still associate themselves with Wisconsin, possibly because the urban areas, shopping malls and Universities in Wisconsin are a much shorter drive than those in the Lower half of the State. (It is perhaps due to this association with Wisconsin that there are many fans of the Green Bay Packers in the Upper Peninsula.)

["Upper Peninsula of Michigan." Wikipedia N. vol. (21 July 2004): 10 pars. Online. Internet. 20 Aug. 2004. Available]

Menominee River, Niagara, WI

Menominee River at Niagara, WI

Menominee is Algonquin for "wild-rice people." The Menominee River forms part of the state boundary between upper Michigan and Wisconsin. It gives its name to the iron range where Iron Mountain, MI, is located and to the city and county in the Upper Peninsula. The river is not anywhere near and ought not to be confused with the Menominee Indian Reservation on the Wolf River in Menominee County, WI, the city of Menomonee Falls on the Menomonee River in Waukesha County, WI, or the city of Menomonie on Lake Menomin on the Red Cedar River in Dunn County, WI.

Iron Ranges near Lake Superior

[Schaetzl, Randall J. "Geography of Michigan and the Great Lakes Region: Iron Mining: Where and Why?" Michigan State University N. vol. (21 Mar. 2001): 4 pp. Online. Internet. 20 Aug. 2004. Available]
The Gogebic Range, Upper Peninsula, MI

Gogebic Iron Range

Gogebic is pronounced Go-GIB-ik with two hard G's. Text of Roadside Marker: The Gogebic Iron Range, which may be seen to the south of here extends for 80 miles from Lake Namekagon, Wisconsin, to Lake Gogebic (Chippewa for "place of diving") in Michigan. Prior to the discovery of iron ore, the area was relatively uninhabited as the land was ill-suited to agriculture. Nathaniel D. Moore uncovered ore deposits in the Penokee gap near Bessemer in 1872, but it was not until 1884 that the first mine shipment was made. The news spread rapidly, attracting speculators, investors and settlers. By 1886 there were 54 mines on the range, and the area was boomed as having "inexhaustible deposits of uniformly high-grade Bessemer ores." For a brief period stocks rose 1200 percent. The crash in 1887 ended the extravagant prosperity.
US 2, The Hi-Line, in Wisconsin

US 2, The Hi-Line, in Wisconsin

US 2 runs from Everett, WA, to St Ignace, MI, and from Rouses Point, NY, to Houlton, ME. Canada has no single-numbered connecting highway from Sault Ste Marie through Ottawa, ON, and Montreal, QC. On my motorcycle trip, I picked up the Hi-Line in Iron Mountain, MI, and traveled all the way west through Duluth, MN, to Browning, MT. Through the iron ranges, it threads its way -- over the Canadian Shield, through Indian reservations. On the margins of the Missouri and the Milk it goes -- past the Sweet Grass Hills, the surplus of creation, to ascend the Rockies through Marias Pass.

Rhode, Chuck. "Chapin Mine Pump, Iron Mountain, MI." The Hi-Line and the Yellowstone Trail: To Glacier Park and Back Again. 1 Sept. 2004. Lacus Veris. 20 Jun. 2024 < Hi-Line and the Yellowstone Trail/The Northwoods/Chapin Mine Pump.shtml>. Last modified 6 Oct. 2015. Served 18911 times between 16 May. 2010 and 20 Jun. 2024. Contact