Mining in Northern Wisconsin

Native Americans mined copper on the shores of Lake Superior in prehistoric times. Between 4,000 and 1,200 B.C., copper jewelry and implements from Wisconsin and Upper Michigan were part of a trade network that stretched from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf Coast, giving rise to the name "Old Copper Culture." You can see several of these artifacts here on the Turning Points site.

Easy access to copper deposits - - some of them literally lying on the shore in huge chunks - - was one the features of Lake Superior first noticed by early French travelers. It was mentioned by... more...

Original Documents and Other Primary Sources

Link to article: A newspaper report on the Gogebic iron district (1886)A newspaper report on the Gogebic iron district (1886)
Link to article: Ancient copper mines are discovered in 1848Ancient copper mines are discovered in 1848
Link to article: Iron County booms in the mid-1880'sIron County booms in the mid-1880's
Link to article: A sketch of mining promoter John Burton and the potential of northern mining operationsA sketch of mining promoter John Burton and the potential of northern mining operations
Link to article: Increase Lapham explores the mineral region of northern Wisconsin in 1858.Increase Lapham explores the mineral region of northern Wisconsin in 1858.
Link to article: The eccentric poet who became Wisconsin's second state geologist.The eccentric poet who became Wisconsin's second state geologist.
Link to article: A survey of mining activity in Northern Wisconsin, 1886A survey of mining activity in Northern Wisconsin, 1886
Link to artifacts: Copper tools from Northern Wisconsin, 4000-1,200 B.C.Copper tools from Northern Wisconsin, 4000-1,200 B.C.
Link to book: Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900Memoirs of an Interpreter among the Ojibwe, 1840-1900
Link to book: An Early Archaeological Report on the Old Copper CultureAn Early Archaeological Report on the Old Copper Culture
Link to images: Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868Increase Lapham examining a meteorite, ca. 1868
Link to images: Outdoor group portrait of the Gogebic Range iron miners, 1886Outdoor group portrait of the Gogebic Range iron miners, 1886
Link to manuscript: Looking for copper near Lake Superior in 1846Looking for copper near Lake Superior in 1846
Link to map: Bird's-eye views of Ashland in the 1880'sBird's-eye views of Ashland in the 1880's
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