Cornish Pumping Engine and Mining Museum
Built in 1903 to pump water out of the Chapin Mine, the Cornish Pumping Engine was the largest steam-driven water pump built in the country and one of the biggest in the world. It stands at 54 feet high and weighs 725 tons. Its massive flywheel alone is 40 feet in diameter and weighs 160 tons. The engine could pump out 3,190 gallons a minute which amounted to over 4.5 million gallons a year. Water seepage was a big problem in this area so this massive machine was necessary. The mine proved worthy of this very expensive investment ($250,000 at the time) as it produced the most iron ore in the Menominee Range. The site has been a museum since the mid-1980s and features many other pieces of mining equipment and tools. The engine has earned several national recognitions: a Michigan Historic Site (1958), a National Register of Historic Places site (1981), a Michigan Historic Civil Engineering Landmark (1984) and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark (1987).
Backstory and Context