The Southern Range

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While the mines and communities to the north flourished, the vast wilderness that sat to the south of the Portage was largely ignored. The first attempt to mine the region - at the towering Wheal Kate Mountain - quickly disintegrated into financial ruin and chilled further exploration for decades. To make matters worse, the copper encountered by the nearby Atlantic Mine existed in such finite particles and within such sandy conglomerate that extracting the metal almost cost more then it was worth. But as mineral rights along the great lodes to the north were becoming scarce prospectors began to take a closer look at the wide-open lands to the south, sure that the next great lode could be found there. It was at the turn of the century - nearly half a century since the copper rush first began - that the south range was finally opened.

From the beginning the South Range was almost entirely under the control of a single group of investors - which had stakes in every mine and industrial enterprise undertaken in the region. When all was said and done the Copper Range Mining Company would have under its direct control four mines, five mills, a smelter, and a major railroad with connections up and down the entire peninsula. To support this massive endeavor the company had to construct several towns along its vast land holdings, complete with schools, hospitals, and even libraries. The company would go on to become one of the peninsula's most productive, rivaling the great C&H itself.

Towards the east, however communities developed around the region's two other major resources: timber and sandstone. While copper was king to the west, it was the red stained sandstone found along the Keweenaw's eastern shore that attracted the interest of industry there. The rich stone was highly sought as a building material, prompting the establishment of several quarries along with the communities necessary to support them. Across the river it would be the Sturgeon River and its outlet near Pike Bay that attracted industry. The long and wide river was perfect for floating out logs harvested in the vast hardwood forests to the south, which meant Pike Bay was an ideal location for the vast lumber mills needed process those logs. Thus the town of Chassell was born.