4,500-year-old Isle Royale copper mining district named a National Historic Landmark

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HOUGHTON, MICH. – A former copper mine in Isle Royale National Park has been designated a National Historic Landmark.

The newly designated landmark, known as the Minong Mine Copper Mining District, contains one of the largest and best-preserved Native American copper mining landscapes in the country, as well as the well-preserved remains of the most large historic copper mining operation on Île Royale.

The boundary of the National Historic Landmark covers more than 200 acres, where it encompasses the archaeological sites of a Native American copper mine dating back at least 4,500 years, the remains of the 19th-century Minong Minong Company and McCargoe Cove, which has historically served as a home for Aboriginal occupation as well as the village of Cove.

According to a statement from Isle Royale National Park, the designation celebrates the national significance of the Minong mining sites – the Ojibwe word for Isle Royale. The landmark is considered important because it showcases the “intimate connection between North America’s most significant native copper mining activities and historic native people.”

“This national historic monument designation for the Minong Copper Mining District strengthens its stature as an exemplary archaeological site,” Denice Swanke, Superintendent of Isle Royale, said in a statement, noting that the district’s location in an area designated wilderness within a national park will help it maintain its high level of archaeological integrity.

National historic monuments are buildings, sites, neighborhoods, structures, and objects that have been identified by the Secretary of the Interior as being of national significance in American history and culture. All national historic monuments are included in the National Register of Historic Places, the official list of historic properties in the nation.

The Minong Mine Copper Mining District is now one of more than 40 Michigan National Historic Landmarks, a complete list of which can be found, by state, on the National Park Service website.

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