Mason

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By the turn of the century the collection of mills along the Portage Waterway had begun to threaten the safe passage of freights along the waterway, due to the large amount of waste tailings that had begun to seep into the channel. The federal government issued a warning to the mines responsible for those mills that they would no longer be allowed to dump sands into the channel, or risk severe penalties. One of the mines affected was the Quincy, which quickly found itself in a position of finding a new location for its mill - and fast.

The solution became a small stretch of shore along the south end of Torch Lake. By then several other mills had already moved operations to the area, and the lakes extreme depth offered plenty of space for tailings. Along with the new mill was built a small town to house the dozens of workers the mill would require. The town was named Mason, after Quincy's president at the time. As the mine flourished, a second mill was built followed by a large reclamation plant for the re-processing of stamp sands.

NOTES: As the Quincy Mine faltered during the Depression and insuing decades, the mills at Mason closed one by one. However, advancements in milling technology made it possible to re-process the sands Quincy had already deposited in the lake. For several decades the mine continued solely in this capacity, using the Reclamation Plant at Mason to keep the company alive. But by the 1960's that plant too was forced to close, leaving the town to fend for itself.



DIRECTIONS: From Hancock follow M26 towards Lake Linden for six miles, at which point the town will be on the right.