They once dotted the landscape of Upper Michigan. In the beginning of the 20th century, they brought people and money. Mining and the U.P. are inseparable even to this day.
The Iron Mountain Iron Mine in Vulcan was discovered in 1873 and operated for 68 years, mining almost 22 million tons of iron ore. Guests can embark on an underground tour with a mine train.
"The unique part is it was all done by hand. This tunnel that we take you through was done before they had any real good equipment, so this was really a pick a shovel and a mule they took to locate the iron ore," said Dennis Carollo, General Manager of the mine.
The mine tunnel is 2,600 feet long and takes you 425 feet underground.
Back in Iron Mountain, you can check out the Cornish pumping engine used in the Chapin mine. It cost an estimated $250,000 for the entire pumping plant.
Joe Warren, Vice President of the Cornish pump museum board, said: "This pump is the largest pump of its size in the United States, ever made in the United States, so it's a very unique thing."
The over 700 ton pump could pour out 3,000 gallons of water a minute and 5 million gallons a day.
In Ontonagon County, the Adventure Mine offers four different underground tours. They range from 45 minutes to 6 hours.
"The tunnels are as they were. We purposely tried not to make it very modernized. There are no lights, no nice walkways; basically, you're walking down the same trails the miners used 100 years ago," said Adventure Mine President, Matthew Portfleet.
The mine opened in 1850, and after 70 years, the Adventure Mine failed to make a profit which lead to its closing in 1920. The Quincy Mining Company in Hancock was at the height of the copper boom and became the second largest mining company in the area. Today, visitors can tour the mine by walking the grounds or they can take the cogwheel tram ride.
"It shows a more industrialized mining company. We have the most comprehensive mining site because it's still standing, and you're able to go in and visit all of the buildings that were a part of the operation," said Quincy Mine Manager, Glenda Bierman.
Visitors can also see the world's largest steam hoist.