How deep is the mine? Also is it currently filled with water?
Champion reached 4800 feet, down a 70 degree inclination (steepest in the copper district), in the main shaft. An electric hoist was installed on the 48 level (4800 feet) to extend a subshaft of the mine to the 56th level (5600 feet), just over a mile. The deepest on the Baltic Lode. Rock from the subshaft was dumped into a pocket and trammed to the main shaft and then to the surface.
The mine is currently filled with water.
What was the last date the mine was operational? How many men were employed at the peak operation of the mine?
The Champion Mine closed in September of 1967. At the height of employment the mine had over 1000 employees, but by the 1920's that number was at least cut in half. In the 1950's when the White Pine mine opened, Champion was only running at about 5% of what it produced during the 1910's. At that time the White Pine mine employed over 1000 employees. Over the life of the Champion mine 120 miners lost their lives in the mine.
Hmmm, the #4 must, if it is flooded, be lower than the #1 shaft, as I just reciently learned (call it a rumor if you will) of some activity on the first level of the #1 shaft. There isn't any mining going on per se, but I think a local person is tinkering around down there (it belongs to him and he has the rights to the property. He says that it is flooded to the 2nd level).
Is there any plans to reopen the underground workings for tours? I personally think that it would be a money maker if the hoist is still in place to let people take a ride in a real man car down the skip way, what did they use to dewater the mine origionally as that would be a large cost, and is any of that equipment still in place? (currious mining student)
Joe, There are no plans to offer underground tours as PM&S does not own the any rights below the shafthouse and in order for us to offer tours of the shafthouse and to insure its safety the shaft was capped many years ago. We wish this were possible, but even if it were possible I doubt that the current laws would allow us to offer rides on a true man car. All of the sites in the Keweenaw that offer tours do so through horizontal audits where you can walk in. The Champion site does not have an audit locations.
Joe & Kevin, Years ago - '70's or early '80's at the first time the Society for Industrial Archeology met in the Copper Country, they took the convention participants underground at #4. Wayne Wesolowski attended and sent me a report - I sure am sorry I missed it. The next time SIA met up there, we had a great time, but no way did we get to do the stuff that first meet did. The mere thought of taking tourist underground in a mancar would cause insurance underwriters to have nervous breakdowns and personal injury lawyers to pass out from the pure estascy of thinking about the settlements they could win.