ISHPEMING, Mich. (WJMN) — The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum announced at the end of June it has acquired several underground iron ore mining artifacts to put on display. Previously, the items were on display at Da Yoopers Tourist Trap in Ishpeming.
One of the items in the acquisition is a “motor” which was used to haul trains of ore and equipment within the mine. Additionally, an ore car, timber car, EIMCO loader and several smaller items were included in the acquisition.
“Due to the size and weight of the motor, we know that many of them quite possibly weren’t brought back up to the surface after their use underground,” said Craig Ilmonen, executive director of the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum. “So this one is probably one of the very few in the area, if not the only one in the area, that is on-surface and able to be viewed.”
The artifacts have been displayed in the outdoor equipment area in front of the museum in a manner that depicts their actual underground usage. While it’s not known exactly which mine the equipment was used in, it’s theorized it likely could have come from Mather B Mine.
Dave Korpi is a retired miner who now serves as a volunteer at the museum. Korpi purchased the equipment from Da Yoopers Tourist Trap in 2021 after hearing they may have been getting rid of the items. Eventually, the items were able to be hauled to the museum this year. Korpi says that as the area largely moves on from its mining past, being able to save items like these are important in preserving that history.
“Local history, it’s very unique to underground mining. That’s kind of a symbol that anyone, even unfamiliar with mining, would have some idea (of) what it did. You know, how it worked, and it was just a very unique piece of equipment to grab,” Korpi said. “History moves on, the world goes. That’s all we’re here with this museum is to try to save selected bits of the past and put it together.”
The museum included the following as part its announcement in acquiring the artifacts:
Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum wishes to thank Mr. Dave Korpi for his generous donation which made the acquisition possible, Mr. Dave Crimmins of A. Lindberg & Sons for providing the labor and equipment to move the artifacts, and Mr. Jim DeCaire of Da Yoopers Tourist Trap for making the artifacts available.
The Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum is open each week Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Guided tours are offered those days at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2:15 p.m..
You can follow the Cliffs Shaft Mine Museum on Facebook.