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Keweenaw Peninsula

This page is about the geographical region of Michigan. For the rocket launch site, see Keweenaw (Rocket launch site).

     The Keweenaw Peninsula (pronounced /ˈkiːwənɔː/, roughly KEY-win-awe) is the most northern part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. It projects into Lake Superior and was the site of the first copper boom in the United States. Its major industries are now logging and tourism, as well as jobs related to Michigan Technological University and Finlandia University.

The northern end is sometimes referred to as Copper Island, although this term is becoming less common. It is separated from the rest of the peninsula by the Keweenaw Waterway, a natural waterway which was dredged and expanded in the 1860s[1] across the peninsula between the cities of Houghton on the south side and Hancock on the north.

A Keweenaw Water Trail has been established around Copper Island. The Water Trail stretches approximately 125 miles (200 km) and can be paddled in five to ten days, depending on weather and water conditions.


The Keweenaw's rich deposits of copper (and some silver) were extracted on an industrial scale beginning around the middle of the 19th century. The industry grew through the latter part of the century and employed thousands of people well into the 20th century. This vigorous industry created a need for educated mining professionals and directly led in 1885 to the founding of the Michigan Mining School (now Michigan Technological University) in Houghton. Although MTU discontinued its undergraduate mining engineering program in 2006, the university continues to offer engineering degrees in a variety of other disciplines.

Running concurrently with the mining boom in the Keweenaw was the white pine lumber boom. Trees were cut for timbers for mine shafts, to heat the communities around the large copper mines, and to help build a growing nation. Much of the logging at the time was done in winter due to the ease of operability with the snow. Due to the indiscriminant logging practices at that time, the forest of the Keweenaw looks much different today than 100 years ago.

For detailed information on the region's mineralogical history, see the virtual tour of the peninsula written by the Mineralogical Society of America, found in exterior links on this page. Information on the geological formations of the region are also detailed.

From 1964-1971, the University of Michigan cooperated with NASA and the U.S. Navy to run the Keweenaw Rocket launch site.


A partial list of towns in the Keweenaw Peninsula:

  • Ahmeek
  • Calumet
  • Chassell
  • Copper Harbor
  • Delaware
  • Dollar Bay
  • Dreamland
  • Eagle Harbor
  • Eagle River
  • Hancock
  • Houghton
  • Hubbell
  • Lac La Belle
  • Lake Linden
  • Laurium
  • Mason
  • Mohawk
  • Phoenix
  • Ripley

See also

  • Keweenaw National Historical Park
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Keweenaw_Peninsula". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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