The Vulcan was discovered by mining engineer, Nelson P. Hulst in 1873. It is located eighteen miles distant from the junction of the Menominee River Branch with the main line. This was in Section 10, Town 39, Range 29, where work was commenced in 1873, very little being done, other than in the way of exploration, until after the building of the branch railway was assured, in the spring of 1877. The track reached the mine in August of that year, since which time the shipments have been as follows: 1877, 4,593 gross tons; 1878, 38,799 gross tons; 1879, 56,975 gross tons; 1880, 85,976 gross tons; 1881, 85,274 gross tons; total, 272,617 gross tons.
The Vulcan is the most easterly of the mines belonging to the Menominee Mining Company. The workings cover a length of nearly two miles, on the line of the ore-bearing formation, in Sections 9, 10 and 11, Town 39, Range 29 - the most easterly pit being on the line between Sections 11 and 14, and the most westerly in the north half of Section 9, the trend of the formation being from southeast to northwest. The workings in Section 11 are known as the East Vulcan, and those in 9 and 10 as the West Vulcan, each group having a Mining Captain of its own, though all under the direct management of one agent or Superintendent. Capt. John Curnow, a miner who has had years of experience in the largest copper and silver mines of the County, is in charge of the underground work at the East Vulcan, and Capt. Enoch Roberts, formerly with Capt. Pascoe, at the Republic, occupies a similar position at the west end pits. Hon. A. C. DAVIS, one of the pioneer Mining Superintendents of the Lake Superior Copper District, is the General Superintendent, under whose direction some important and valuable changes have been made in the general mining plan.
There are three pits at the East Vulcan, numbered 1, 2 and 3 respectively. There are, or have been, at this point, two distinct lenses of ore - the Lowell vein of red ore, and what is or was known as the chimney of blue ore - the latter being of exceptionally fine quality, and the other rather below the grade of first-class.
At the West Vulcan there are four working shafts in operation - Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 - in what are now known to be two distinct and separate veins or lenses of ore, lying parallel with and lapping each other. The trend of these lenses, which are about five hundred feet distant from each other, is nearly east and west, with southerly dip, the pitch of the south lens being to the west, and that of the other to the east.
The mine is now being wrought on the Nevada system of mining and timbering, similar to the work done at the Chapin Mine; for this purpose a new saw-mill has just been completed near the old No. 2 Pit for supplying the mine with square timbers, plank, etc.
The mine gives employment to a force of 500 men at this writing. Shipment began this year from stock piles aggregating 30,000 tons, and we look for an increased product, notwithstanding the fact that most of the preparatory work, commenced since the first of the year, is yet far from being fully completed. Altogether, the mine is a most promising one, and, under the new system, it promises a great improvement over its record already achieved. When the new shafts are completed and the new system is fully inaugurated, an annual product of 100,000 tons is estimated as the minimum capacity.
Source: History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, containing a full account of its early settlement; its growth, development and resources. Chicago: Western Historical Company, 1883.