Champion Copper Mine #4, Painesdale, MI

The site of the old Champion Mine is located in Painesdale, Michigan at the junction of M-26 and the Painesdale–Chassell Road in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Organized in 1889, the Champion #4 Shaft-Rock house is the oldest shaft-rock house standing in the Keweenaw.  Champion #4 was one of the many Copper Range Company mines that ran from Atlantic Mine to Painesdale.  During the 1930s the m ine was working the 48th level, 4,800 feet from the surface on the incline at the #4 shaft house. Some buildings and many ruins remain from this once active mine.

Champion Copper Mine Shaft House #4
9 miles south of Houghton, Painesdale, MI
Tours Available
See the Shaft House, Oil House, Captains Office and Some Old Mining Ruins

Mine Captains Office is included in the mine tour.
One the many oil houses.

The old blacksmith’s Shop and Machine Shop south of the shaft are still standing and are used by private businesses.

Many of the mine officials lived on the hill west of the Mine, commonly known as “Snob Hill”. This was the location of the Copper Range Champion Mine Office, now abandoned and in need of care. One of the original mining compa ny houses is located across the street.

The ruins on the west side of the road are from the “D” Shaft Rock House. There are other old mining buildings, railway equipment, poor rock piles and private homes related to the mining era in the vicinity o f the mineshaft house. Some of the storage buildings that remain are privately owned. This mine ceased operations in 1967.

If you travel a bit east of the mine on the Painesdale-Chassell Road you will find the “C” Hoist House, a sandstone building that served the “C” shaft. The hoist is missing but the building still stands on the north side of the Chassell Road.

Ruins of "D" Shaft Rock House
"C" Hoist House

The mining town of Painesdale was named for Albert Paine, president of the Copper Range Company. Built between 1899 and 1917 by the Champion Mining Company, the town is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Painesdale Mine and Shaft, Inc is continuing their efforts to save this historic mine shaft. The 2015 Summer Newsletter mentioned that they were able to replace the lower level windows in 2012 and last summer they replaced the upper level windows that were broken and falling apart with replicas of the old windows, even in color using old paint chips to maintain historical accuracy.

The next projects they are planning are to make the Captain’s office handicap accessible, replace the doors, and repaint the window shutters keeping the historical integrity of the building. They also plan to repair the steps to th e 2nd floor of the Shafthouse, and start planning for the preservation of the Hoist Building. Also in the plans is a museum in the Shafthouse. 

Free tours are available by appointment. Call Sherri at 906-231-5542 to set up a tour of the shaft house, hoist house, and the Captain’s office. Painesdale Mine and Shaft Inc offers a yearly membership for $10 and appreciates any d onations for restoration of the mineshaft. You can contact the organization at

Mailing address:
Painesdale Mine & Shaft
P. O. Box 332
Painesdale, MI 49955
For additional information, please visit this website
: Painesdale Mine & Shaft

Volunteers are needed to conduct tours of the old mine. If interested, contact Sherri at 906-231-5542

The ore was sent by the Copper Range Railroad to the stamp mill in Freda, on the shores of Lake Superior. The 6 large stamps crushed the large pieces of rock into smaller pieces and sent by train to the smelters.

The town if Freda was named for Albert Paine’s daughter and is where visitors can see old ruins, a smokestack, and stamp sands that remain at the site where ore was processed from several area mines. Nothing else r emains but a few houses. The road passes through the town of Redridge, known for it’s steel dam across the Salmon Trout River. Formerly busy towns, they are practically deserted but travelers will enjoy driving the “covered-road” through the forests, from Houghton to Freda through the forests to the town.

 Historic information about the Painesdale Mine and Shaft can be found on this website: Painesdale Mine by Kevin Musser. Unfortunately he passed awa y a few years ago so the dates and e-mail address on the site cannot be updated but the history of the mine is very interesting for mining enthusiasts.

The Painesdale Mine Shaft House is located 9 miles south of Houghton on M-26. At the intersection of Highway M-26 and the Painesdale-Chassell Road, turn east on the Chassell Road for about 1 block. Turn right and you will find this historic mineshaft house and other ruins.

These photos are from 1999. The boxcar has been removed and the scenery is a bit different.

A Short History of Copper Mining
Upper Peninsula Copper Mines and Ghost Towns
Copper Country Road Trips: Guide Book for Historical Sites from the Copper Mining Area.

Factual information From
 “Painesdale, Michigan Old and New“ by Clarence J. Monette

The “Painesdale Mine & Shaft" website.

 Photos: Vivian Wood