Exploring Hancock, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula
The Beginning of the Copper Country
Hancock, MI is located on the north side of the Keweenaw waterway on US 41, just across the aerial lift bridge from Houghton.
Hancock was industrialized during the mining era with the Quincy, Pewabic, and Franklin Mines located on top of the hillside. Quincy's first shaft was sunk in 1855 on one of the prehistoric mining pits and was soon a profitable mine You can see the 150' tall Shaft # 2 sunk in 1908 at the top of the hill. This is the deepest shaft in the Copper Country, going down 6,400 feet with 94 levels. You can see the world's largest steam driven mine hoist, shaft house, take a tram ride, and go on an underground tour during the summer months.
Stamp mills, smelters and foundries soon sprung up along Portage Lake to prepare the copper for shipping, Many of the old ruins can be seen along the waterfront.
The town of Hancock is filled with large turn-of-the-century homes, many built with Jacobsville sandstone. This is a real treat for photographers, architects, and others interested in the history of the mining era.
Hancock is the home of Finlandia University, formerly called Suomi College, a Finnish School founded in 1896 and the only Finnish American College or University in the United States.
Precambrian geological formations are great for rock-hunters. Many piles of "poor-rock" provide overlooked pieces of copper or other interesting rocks. Agates can be found along the beaches of Lake Superior.
The Hancock Recreation Area and Waterfront Park is located on Portage Lake. Turn west on M-203 and the park is just outside Hancock. You will find 45 modern and some primitive camping sites, electricity, and a swimming area.
McLain State Park is 10 miles north west of Hancock on highway M-203. This park borders on Lake Superior and has 90 camping sites with electricity, showers, picnic area, playground, and hiking rail
Hancock is a good location to start your snowmobile trip through the Keweenaw Peninsula on the many groomed trails that traverse the area. You can snowmobile from many of your favorite motels and restaurants or cross the aerial lift bridge on the lower level and go into Houghton. Rental Snowmobiles in town.
Downhill skiers will enjoy Mount Ripley, just to the east of the aerial lift bridge on highway M-26 . Both day and night skiing are available with a chair and bar tow, instruction, rental, food and areas for tobogganing and snowboarding. Downhill runs of 2,000 to 2,500 feet with a 423 foot vertical drop offer a challenge to even the advanced skiers.
Cross country skiers should try out the Maasto Hiinto Cross Country Ski Trails with 17 miles of groomed and marked trails.
Photos: Mary Deloria
Copyright 1997 by Vivian Wood, webmaster. All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under the Copyright Act of 1976, as amended, this web site may not be reproduced in whole or in part in any manner. Unless authorized by the webmaster, reproduction of any picture, web page or pages on this website, www.exploringthenorth.com, for placement on the internet is a copyright infringement. All right, title and interest in and to the material on these web pages, the web site, in whole or in part, and in and to this url and the urls contained within, is the property of the webmaster. All website design, text, graphics, selection and arrangement thereof are the copyrighted works of Vivian Wood. Web site created on an Apple G-4