Copper Harbor burst onto the map as the Keweenaw’s first boom town, thanks to the boat loads of men who came ashore here in search of red metal riches. As a result the shores of the harbor were quickly overrun with makeshift camps of various mining concerns, and as exploration turned to mining those same shores would become home to warehouses and wharfs. But soon the excitement of possible copper riches were trampled by the realities of the region’s rugged and unforgiving nature. Boom turned to bust, and Copper Harbor was quickly abandoned. From that point on Copper Harbor would owe its existence not to the red metal from which it got its name, but instead to the auto tourist and summer vacationer who would come later.
Half a century after the mining boom put the village on the map, the harbor’s shores were once again inundated with makeshift camps. This time, however, those camps belonged not to prospectors and mine companies but instead to auto tourists and vacationers. As a result most of Copper Harbor’s lakefront property fell into private hands and became home to motels and summer camps. This meant that today very little public property exists along the village’s scenic shoreline, save for one small sliver of land at the end of Third Street known as the Third Street Memorial Park.
This petite park features a small boardwalk and dock that sits at the water’s edge, providing an unobstructed view out towards Porter’s Island and up and down the harbor’s rugged shore. A series of benches placed along the boardwalk provides for relaxing spots to enjoy some quite time reading a book or just listening to the sound of Lake Superior.
NOTES: The park sits on level ground, and a wide dirt path leads out to the boardwalk and dock. A small parking lot with a nice stone wall sits alongside the adjacent road. Due to the closeness of the neighboring homes no loud music, drinking, or other disruptive behavior is allowed. The park is open from 9am to 10pm.
DIRECTIONS: Upon entering Copper Harbor continue north on US41 until arriving to Third Street three blocks up from the blinking light. Turn left and follow the road to its end, where the park’s parking lot will be seen straight ahead.