Porcupine Mountains: Nonesuch Mine Trail
The Nonesuch Mine site includes an abandoned copper mine and the remains of a small ghost town in the southeast corner of the Porcupine Mountains State Park, just off South Boundary Road. The mine was rather aptly named, as the extremely fine character of its copper deposits was unlike any other vein found in the region and made traditional mining techniques incredibly inefficient and costly.
Ed Less is given credit for discovering the Nonesuch on the Little Iron River in 1865 and within two years the Nonesuch Mining Company was extracting copper from a pair of shafts. But as a mining operation the Nonesuch sputtered at best over the next 45 years, opening and closing five different times, each under different ownership.
The only time the Nonesuch vein produced a profit was from 1879 to 1881 after a tram road was completed to Union Bay on Lake Superior. By the early 1880s 150 men were employed at Nonesuch mine which resulted in a company town of more than a dozen homes, warehouses, a store, boarding houses and a hotel. During the summer the town had a population more than 300, featured a uniformed baseball team and was connected to Ontonagon with weekly stage coach service. When the mine ceased operations for good in 1912 the total recorded production of the mine was 390,000 pounds of copper.
Today what's left of the Nonesuch Mine provides an easy outing to explore the ruins of an abandoned copper mine, the adjoining company town and even a scenic waterfall when there is enough flow in the Little Iron River, not always the case in July and August. It’s a half mile trek to the waterfall along a two-track and then a foot path at the end. This can be a quick hike to stretch the legs or an outing that lasts several hours exploring the area.
|Difficulty - Easy|