The Quincy Mine Hoist Association owns and operates the Quincy Mine properties in Hancock, MI. Its purpose is to educate people about the history of copper mining in Michigan, more particularly about the Quincy Mining Company, and to preserve the mine site. It conducts guided tours of several important surface buildings and the interior of the mine and is open daily between early June and mid-October from 9.30am to 5.00pm. The Quincy Number 2 shaft was the world's deepest shaft, at 9,260 feet and, today, a half-mile long standard gauge cog railway transports tourists to the entrance of the shaft.
The mine opened in 1846 and was the country's leading copper-producing mine from 1863 to 1867. Operations ceased in 1931 due to low copper prices, but reopened during WWII when demand increased. When the government stopped supporting copper prices after the war, the mines closed for good, although some activities continued through the 1970s.
There are two locomotives on display in the mine grounds, Quincy & Torch Lake #1 and #5.
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In the late 1880s, the Quincy Mining Company was looking for new sites to deposit their sands. Its choice was Torch Lake, which got it's name from the native Americans who fished there by torch light at night. In 1888, Quincy decided to build a narrow gauge (36”) railroad to connect its mine with the new Stamp Mill being built 6½ miles from the mine in a new mill town named Mason.
The railroad was completed for a cost of $5,000. It started at the enginehouse which was located south of the mine and ran to a trestle at the rear of the mill on Torch Lake.
The railroad began operations in March 1890 and was soon shipping around 20,000 tons of rock per month, grossing $11,960 the first year of operation.
Two engines were initially ordered. #1 was named after Thomas F. Mason who was President of the Quincy from 1858 to 1899. #2 was known as the
S. B. Harris but was scrapped in 1915. The rest of the rolling stock consisted of thirty rock cars and three thirty foot flat cars, as well as a Peninsular Car Company four wheel caboose. Total cost was about $12,000.
#1 was built for the Q&TL in 1889 by the Brooks Locomotive Works in Dunkirk, NY, at a cost of $7,800.
A Mogul type (2-6-0) locomotive, it weighs 70,000 lbs, 60,000 lbs on its 42” drivers. Operating at a boiler pressure of 160 psi, it delivered 14,570 lbs tractive effort.
The effective end of the Quincy & Torch Lake came in 1905 when the Quincy Mining Company bought four engines, seventeen flat cars, one hundred and nineteen rock cars and a turntable from the Q&TL to settle the $300,000 debt the railroad had accumulated over the years.
The mining company paid the Quincy & Torch Lake for use of the tracks and, from this point forward, the railroad existed only on paper until total liquidation in 1927. #1 was formally transferred to the Quincy mining company in 1929 and made its last run in 1931.
#5 was the only locomotive bought second hand by the Q&TL. It was built in 1891 by the Baldwin Locomotive Works for the Hancock & Calumet Railroad at Calumet, MI, as #7 and named “Opechee”. When sold to the Q&TL in 1908 it had been renumbered #34. Renumbered #5 by the Q&TL, it was transferred to the Quincy Mine Company in 1929.
Apparently, the engine was nicknamed "Jumper" because of its tendency to derail, perhaps encouraged by the blind drivers on its second and third axles.