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Centennial No. 6

One of the few remaining hoists in the Keweenaw, the Centennial No. 6 is a reminder of a bygone era. Unfortunately I don't know much of the history of this particular structure other than it was one of the later hoists constructed in the area. As such, it's still seems structurally sound. The portal that led down into the mine has been sealed and is no longer accessible but you can still climb to the top of the hoist. The decline of the structure leads to the side of a sealed building that you can pull yourself onto and then take stairs and a catwalk up into the main structure. There is a decent amount of old equipment that never got scrapped. If you're feeling risky there's a trapdoor at the very top of the roof that will allow you to stand on top of the hoist.

The big rusty tank that sits below the main structure is a mostly empty ore bin where copper ore was stored while filling rail cars that passed underneath it. While walking on top be careful not to fall in as there are holes in the floor. The base of this bin has 8 large lever operated chute doors which used to allow copper to fall out beneath. Currently only one or two of them work but they can be opened wide enough to crawl inside the hopper. I found this out after playing with one of the levers and a bunch of native copper rich rock fell out onto the ground. If you use a long ladder it's easy enough to get inside of the bin from the ground. Inside you can find incredible pieces of conglomerate copper ore with minimal digging.

Some things to note: This is private property and is posted. Additionally there are cameras on the building which the decline is connected to. Due to the height, this structure represents a particularly hazardous climb. I especially do not recommend climbing out the roof. If you choose to enter the bin, be careful as the ore inside has reached the angle of repose and it would be very easy to fall and slide out through a chute door. Due to dead air, any amount of movement inside the hopper will result in rock dust and flaked off insulation becoming airborne. Under no circumstances should you enter without a mask or respirator of the appropriate type. Also bring a shovel. You'll find out why quickly without one.

To get here from Houghton, drive north across the lift bridge and take US-41 north until you reach the town of Centennial. Take a left on Centennial No. 6 road and drive a quarter mile until you come across the hoist. It will be hard to miss, even from the highway. I recommend visiting after 6:00 as there is a business across the road from the hoist.

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