This terrific little Michigan ghost town goes by two names: ‘Central Mine’ and just plain ‘Central’. The town began in 1854 when 300 acres of Keweenaw Peninsula land were bought by the Central Mining Company. On this particular chunk of land, an old Native American mine was discovered that contained a rich amount of copper. After a shaft was sunk in 1855, over 41 tons of copper came out of just the first 40 feet!

By 1856 homes were being built for the workers – mostly British immigrants – who were living some distance away at another mining camp. These new homes were just the beginning of the new town of Central.

In 1870, Central had a population of 950 – not much by today’s standards, but a good amount for that desolate area. The good number of people was particularly impressive, as brutal winter conditions challenged even the heartiest men. The freezing, brittle winds that blew in from Lake Superior forced residents to find unique ways to stay warm – like insulating the windows by pouring sawdust between the wood and glass of boarded-up windows. Then they would have to wait months for spring to arrive, as no food could arrive until Lake Superior thawed.

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By the 1880s, Central boasted a population of 1,200 along with blacksmiths, boarding houses, general store, hotel, meat market, saloons, shoemaker, several other shops & stores, and a tailor.

After an 1872 tragedy where 13 men were killed in a mine shaft accident and 44 years of operation, the mine closed in the summer of 1898. From there, the town kept dwindling as more and more residents picked up and looked for work and homes elsewhere, until finally it was deemed a ghost town.

The town now welcomes visitors and there is a lot to see and explore, as you’ll see in the photo gallery below!

The Ghost Town of Central Mine


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