For most of the Copper Country’s history industrial past steam was king. Mine companies relied on steam to power anything and everything mechanical used in their mines. Steam engines were used for hoisting, pumping, compressing, stamping, hauling, and more. But these engines required boilers, boilers that required large amounts of coal. Unfortunately that coal had to be shipped here from coal mines thousands of miles away – a necessity that cost mine companies a substantial amount of money each year. As copper prices declined and production costs increased, mines begin to rethink their steam dependence. In order to cut costs mines began to turn their attention towards replacing steam with electric power.
At first mines like Quincy bought their power from area utilities, but quickly discovered it would be cheaper just to produce it themselves. At the Quincy Mill, this realization resulted in the construction of a massive turbine building in 1921. This three story brick and concrete structure was home to a 2000 KW General Electric steam turbine, which was used to power most everything at the two mills except for the stamps themselves. The turbine was designed in such a way that it didn’t require steam to be produced for it specifically, instead relying on the low pressure exhaust steam from the stamps.
NOTES: This massive concrete structure was built to last, considering that even though the turbine had been torn through its front facade the building continues to stand relatively intact.
DIRECTIONS: The Quincy Turbine building sits up the bluff along M26 just north of Mason. From Hancock follow M26 towards Lake Linden for six miles until you pass Mason. The three story building can be glimpsed behind the trees on the right.
FOR MORE INFO: A detailed look at the Turbine building remains can be found at Copper Country Explorer.