In 1854 a pit dug by prehistoric miners was discovered with a mass of native copper in the area that would form Kewanaw County. The Central Mining Company was formed that same year and began modern mining operations on the site. The mine produced over one-million pounds annually, sometimes exceeding two-million pounds annually, from 1865 until 1894.
The village of Central Mine was settled around 1857. There was a post office, hotel, blacksmith, shoe maker, lawyer, milliner, general store, school, doctor, and church. Telephone lines reached Central Mine in 1881. At its height, 1,200 people lived at Central Mine.
In 1894 a fault was discovered in the ore formation and the mine spent the next couple of years trying to find a minable vein. The active mining produced fewer and fewer tons of copper each year. The Central Mine was the largest mining operation in the Keweenaw district until the 1890s when the Kearsage load was discovered in Calumet Township. Central Mine closed in 1898. By 1905 the population of Central Mine had dropped to one-hundred and in 1909 the post office at Central Mine was discontinued.
Central Mine’s Methodist Episcopal church, built in 1868, remains standing in its traditional Cornish architectural style and is used for Central Mine reunions every year. The Keweenaw County Historical Society is restoring old miner residences and two trails explore the remains of houses and a view of the old school house.