How Miners Falls got their name

Winter at Miners Falls

Winter at Miners Falls, photo by gkretovic

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore explains that Miners Falls is about five miles north of Alger County Road H-58 off Miners Castle Road. It’s a short hike of just over a mile round-trip from the parking area and Miners Castle.

I always wondered about the whole “miner” thing with Miners River/Falls/Castle.  The Miners Falls Trail Guide explains that:

Visited by passing English geologists in 1771-1772, the nearby Miners River was named by employees of Alexander Henry during one of his exploratory trips on Lake Superior. At that time, indicators or “leaders” were used to locate mineral deposits. Discolored water oozing from bedrock was one such leader found in the Miners Basin, although no minerals were ever extracted from this area.

Who was Alexander Henry you ask? Wikipedia explains:

Alexander Henry ‘The Elder’ (August 1739 – 4 April 1824) was one of the leading pioneers of the British-Canadian fur trade following the British Conquest of New France; a partner in the North West Company, and a founding member and vice-chairman of the Beaver Club. In 1763-64, he lived and hunted with Wawatam of the Ojibwa, who had adopted him as a brother. “Blessed with as many lives as a cat,” his time with the Ojibwa and subsequent explorations are retold in his Travels and Adventures in Canada and the Indian Territories between the years 1760 and 1776 (published New York, 1809), which he dedicated to his friend Sir Joseph Banks. The book is considered an adventure classic and one of the best descriptions of Native Indian life at this time.

An “easy and dignified” raconteur, in 1776 Henry was invited to give an account of his journeys at the Royal Society in London and at Versailles to Queen Marie Antoinette. In the 1780s, Henry introduced John Jacob Astor into the Canadian fur trade and subsequently Astor would stay as Henry’s guest during his annual visits to Montreal.

You can read Henry’s Travels and Adventures in Canada online from Google Books. Also see the GoWaterfalling page on Miner’s Falls.

See it on black and see more in Greg’s great slideshow which includes a shot of a UP moose! From the Small World Files, Greg took this photo on November 27th. On the 28th, John McCormick was also there and also shared his shot on the Absolute Michigan group on Flickr!

More from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Michigan in Pictures.

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