The Keweenaw Peninsula is technically not a peninsula at all, but instead is a large island set off from the mainland by a connected series of lakes, rivers, and man-made canals known collectively as the Keweenaw Waterway. For generations the native inhabitants of the Superior region used this water route to eliminate the need for a long and dangerous trip around the peninsula's tip. This waterway was referred to as "Keewaiwona", which roughly translated into "the crossing place". When European explorers arrived to the region in the early 1800's, the Keewaiwona became the Keweenaw.
The peninsula's claim to fame is its reserves of pure native copper that lie just below the rocky ridges of its interior. Thousands of years ago this copper was fashioned into tools and jewelry by native peoples - the earliest metalworking known in North America. It would be the ancient pits from these early mines that would help pinpoint the peninsula's copper lodes for the rush of copper prospectors that would arrive many generations later. The modern copper rush to the region began at Copper Harbor in the mid 1800's, resulting in hundreds of fledgling mining companies to spread out across the vast wilderness in search for riches. But the copper deposits were finicky, and most of these early mines failed within a few years.
As the copper prospectors moved southward they would encounter their first successes along the Greenstone Flow, which manifested itself as a line of towering cliffs along the peninsula's spine. The Cliff and Central Mines spurred a renewed optimism in the region and its true potential. Soon the great copper lodes to the south would be discovered, and the regions giants would began to emerge - C&H, Quincy, and Copper Range. These three companies would grow exponentially in the early part of the twentieth century, their success spawning a frontier metropolis sprawling from Painesdale to Mohawk.