Michigan has a few historic towns you can visit, but there is one that few people know about. It is located way up in the Keweenaw Peninsula between Calumet and Copper Harbor on US-41. A small brown and white sign that simply reads ” Central Mine Visitors Center” points to the old town. Most tourists just think it is a simple little visitors center for one of the many former mines in the area, but they are mistaken.
Central Mine is the name of a company town that was built by the copper mining company of the same name. The mine was open in the 1850s and closed in the 1890s after the copper ore was depleted. The town at one time had a population of 900 residents. The miners who were mostly immigrants from Cornwall England moved away after The Central Mine turned off the pumps and sealed the shafts. In the 1950s, the last permanent resident in the town of Central Mine left.
The Keweenaw County Historical Society owns 38 acres of the old Central Mine site and town. It operates the visitors center located in a former house. The society has also restored several houses and buildings in the old town. Some are open to visitors and decorated with antiques from the period they were built.
When I visited, the small town was strangely quiet. I could walk through the open houses and explore the area. It was like stepping back in time going into a house over a century old and the items inside from back in the day. If you visit be sure to stop by the visitors center first and look at the map since some of the property is still private and closed to tourists.
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