in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
The name Keweenaw is from the Ojibiwas (Chippewas) meaning "Portage". The ancient Portage River and Portage Lake provided a natural water pathway across most of the Keweenaw Peninsula. The short portage at the north end was opened into a canal in the late 1800's. Ships could now travel through the Keweenaw Waterway instead of around the Peninsula and larger vessels could travel to Houghton and Hancock. The Keweenaw Waterway also provided a Harbor of Refuge to protect these vessels from Lake Superior's violent storms. Completion of the Keweenaw Waterway made the Keweenaw Peninsula an island rather than a peninsula.
In the mid-1800's the world's purest "native" copper was discovered in the Keweenaw. Mining of this rare native copper led to extensive development of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Many relics and ruins remain.
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