Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Archaeology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Social Sciences

Advisor 1

Carol MacLennan

Committee Member 1

Fredric Quivik

Committee Member 2

Judith Perlinger


The Calumet and Hecla Copper Mining Company in Houghton County, Michigan, was established in 1865 and closed its doors in 1968. This company was a major contributor in developing secondary copper processing and used these methods to produce copper even when its underground mines were closed. C&H built its own electrical transmission system that could have rivaled many during its time. This allowed the company to have the ability to produce and control its electrical network and expand, but it had major environmental effects. Polychlorinated biphenyl compounds (PCBs), used in transformer oil and other components were produced between about 1930 and the 1970s. They are known to be a carcinogen and to cause other harmful effects to both humans and the environment. This research describes the history of electrical development and maps C&H Torch Lake facilities to further understand how PCBs continue to affect the environment.