America's Best History Spotlight
On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.
Copper Harbor, Michigan
Perched on the furthest land precipice, known as Keweenaw, jutting out into Lake Superior from the Upper Michigan Peninsula, Copper Harbor today relies on tourism to fill its beak, but in its past, the area was filled with Ojibwe, trappers and traders, and then the men and women who made the copper mines profitable, at least for a couple decades a few decades apart. These forces did not always mix well. Forts were built. Today, it's motels built and trying to see Canada from your balcony. However, that's not easy, ... only with a good telescope or on an excursion ply on a swift, ... well, it doesn't have to be swift, boat. Photo above: Hays Point and Copper Island Lighthouse, 1995, J. Massey, Historic American Buildings Survey. Courtesy Library of Congress.
Info, What's There Now, History Nearby
There's history here, of the copper mining, shipping, and fort kind, plus a whole lot of recreation opportunities on the water and off. For many, it's just plain the views. There are viewing points throughout the town and area surrounding the small village that are just plain awesome. You can make a day of just traveling within several miles and standing on a viewing deck; Hunters Point, 6th Street, Lighthouse, the Copper Harbor Overlook.
For those into history, there's the Astor House Museum with its collection of dolls and local history items, Fort Wilkins, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, and an authentic copper mine, the Delaware Mine. Boat tours galore ply the waters to the lighthouse or just take you on Lake Superior excursions at sunset to points close or day trips to Isle Royale far. You can walk the streets and shop for art, or a good meal. You can hike the Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, huge trees there, or head over to Hunter's Point. You can kayak, fish, and enjoy winter activities if you come for cold weather pursuits.
Photo above: Copper Island with Hunter's Point Park in the foreground, 2017, Roman Kahler. Courtesy Wikipedia Commons. Below: Sign announcing the northern end of Route 41 in Copper Harbor, 2006, Nick Nolte> Courtesy Wikipedia Commons.
Where Is It
Copper Harbor is at the northernmost point of Route 41, which travels all the way from Miami, Florida to this Upper Michigan Peninsula point. For a point of reference to how far north in Michigan you are. Copper Harbor is three hundred and twelve miles from Mackinaw City at the Interstate 75 bridge connecting the Lower and Upper Peninsula of the state.
Great Book for the History Fan with Fifty Short Essays Telling the Story of American History.
What is There Now
The town is open year round for summer or winter pastimes, however some of the attractions, such as Fort Wilkins, are a spring to fall thing. You can visit the Delaware Mine (a working mine from 1847 to 1887) on a self-guided tour and even bring your dog, the Astor House Museum located at Minnetonka Resort, or the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, to get your in the past fix. You can walk the streets of Copper Harbor, play miniature golf, and buy some fudge or a cone at somewhere cute.
How Much to Visit
There is no fee for the town of Copper Harbor. To visit Fort Wilkins as a state resident, you must have the State Recreation Passport, which costs $11 when registering your vehicle. A non-resident day pass is $9. The Delaware Mine charges $11 per adult and $7 for children 6-12.
Copper Harbor Tourism
Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
There's a bunch to do on the Upper Peninsula, or within Lake Superior. For those with National Park inclinations, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Isle Royale National Park are not close, but are special places to visit. If you're coming from the lower peninsula and have not been to Mackinac Island, that's been a special treat for over a hundred years of tourists. For those that want nature of a closer kind, try Baraga State Forest Area, inland, and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, on the lake.