Last October, we partnered with the Keweenaw Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to capture photos of a few families during their tour of the Quincy Mine Shaft complex. These photos would be used to help attract visitors to the Keweenaw and take part in the Quincy Mine experience.
We started off in the gift shop and worked our way to the trains while we waited to board the cog rail tram. The Quincy Mine staff encourages the public to stop by the mine and explore the grounds at any time. We took full advantage of that! The kids climbed the trains and pulled every lever possible.
The tour guide invited the group to climb aboard the tram after giving a brief overview of the mine. The diesel engine started and we began inching our down the hill towards the tunnel opening. The kids were smiling and trying to get a view of the lift bridge in the distance. With the tram hill being at such an unnatural angle, the sensation of sitting upright while descending towards the bottom of a steep hill is a feeling you can only experience at the Quincy Mine.
At the bottom, the group moved onto the Quincy Electric Reversible Mine Transport (QERMiT) and we made our way into the darkness. We made a few stops along the way before reaching the mining drill area. In 1945, the Quincy Mine had the world’s longest mine shaft at 9,260ft (1.75 miles). While today’s tours bring visitors about a half mile into the mine, each tour group is brought straight into the side of the hill and passes right under US41. During the tour, you’ll see early mine cars, a large opening (stope) that was developed between the 1850 and the Civil War, and water filling the lower levels of the mine. You’ll get to see first hand how difficult mining was in this cold, dark environment.
The underground environment is very dark, which makes it challenging to take photos – especially of moving subjects. At a few points during the underground tour, we were able to take longer exposure photos to capture more light by stabilizing our cameras.
After spending some time exploring the underground mine, we made our way back to the tram. Next stop, the Nordberg Steam Hoist. This last part of the tour gave us a close-up view of the largest steam-powered hoist engine ever built. This concluded the comprehensive tour of the Quincy Mine area. Before taking off, the families walked around the grounds to view the old mining equipment.
We had a great time on the tour and would like to thank the families for allowing us to capture these moments of surprise, curiosity, and joy.
If you’re in the Keweenaw this summer, make sure to stop at the Quincy Mine for a tour. On a hot day, the the underground experience will cool you down in no time!