Scenic USA - Michigan

Fort Wilkens HSP

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Fort Wilkens - Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website

Fort Wilkens Officers Quarters     From the northern border of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the Keweenaw Peninsula juts out another 60 miles into Lake Superior. Here during the mid 19th century miners rediscovered the world's largest deposit of pure copper. The copper, found on a ridge that extends all the way up the peninsula, was so pure early American Natives used it straight from the ground to make beads, tools and ornaments.
     When the United States gained this territory in 1842, Fort Wilkins was established near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula to maintain peace. Built in 1844, the fort is an excellent example of a 19th century Copper Harbor Lighthouse military post. Out on the lonely tip of Keweenaw Point soldiers and their families experienced all the hardships of a frontier life.
     Here at Fort Wilkins twelve original structures survive from the 1840s. Today, visitors may take a self-guided tour through all the buildings at the fort, mostly decorated with period furnishings and equipment. Fort Wilkins State Park also includes the Copper Harbor Lighthouse complex. This 1848 light-station can be reached by boat tour or seen from the lighthouse overlook adjacent Fanny Hooe Creek. This lighthouse view (inset) was taken from the overlook on Copper Harbor Bay.

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