The 1859 Mining Town of Hancock, Keweenaw Peninsula
The town of Hancock sits in the Keewenaw Peninsula, Houghton County, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. In 1847, prospectors discovered crude, ages-old Native American copper mines. Realizing there was probably more copper and a way to make themselves rich, the land was purchased and the Quincy Mining Company was formed on the spot.
The town was therefore founded out of necessity. The Keweenaw peninsula was teeming with copper mines, and little communities were needed in order for businesses to set up offices and miners to have a place to live.
When it became necessary for a town name, they decided to honor the man who flourished his name across the bottom of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock.
Out of all the mines in the area (including the 'Franklin' and the 'Hancock'), Hancock's 'Quincy' mine was the most productive and most well-known, cranking out copper for 83 years. It shut down in 1945.
1859: The first store & post office begins operations.
1859: Hancock Mine begins.
1869: A saloon on Quincy Street burns down when a stovepipe bursts. Not only was the saloon destroyed, but also over 120 homes, and most of the businesses in town, including approximately 150 buildings. Just about all were rebuilt a year later.
Hancock is Houghton's 'sister city' and the two are separated by the Portage Canal. It has the world's largest steam hoist, along with many little shops and eateries for you to peruse when you visit.
Is there plenty of history for you to check out? You better believe it.
To see some photos of the abandoned Quincy Mine and deserted old miners homes, click HERE.
The Quincy Smelter is the only remaining copper smelter in the Lake Superior region, and you can take a tour HERE.
By the way, Hancock has it's own 'Haunted Michigan' location...the Phi Kappa Tau frat house on Quincy Street. Read about this legendary haunting HERE.
Check out many photos in the gallery below, including some “then-and-now” shots. If you roadtrip the U.P. This year, put Hancock on your list of places to hit!