The Ontonagon Boulder, a massive specimen of float copper, was known to the Chippewa who considered it a gift from the Great Manitou. It was a pilgrimage site for many European explorers to the region and it inspired the earliest mining venture in Michigan. Former commander of Fort Michililimackac, Alexander Henry, survived the massacre at the fort in 1763 and went on to start the first mining venture in Michigan. In 1771 after learning about the Ontonagon Boulder, he attempted to mine on the banks of the Ontonagon River. His mining operation lasted less than a year and no copper was successfully mined. The legend of the Ontonagon Boulder inspired more mines to open in the area and a mass of copper was found near the original location of the boulder on Forest Hill. The Cushin Mine was opened there in 1849 and renamed The Forest Hill Mine in 1850. In 1857 the Forest Hill Mine was again reorganized as the Victoria Mining Company. The Victoria Mine was dug into a pit where prehistoric tools had been discovered and was realized to be an ancient mining attempt.
Soon after the mine was dug, a settlement sprouted up. Log bunk houses were built for the workers of the mine and sawmill at Victoria. Other company buildings were constructed including the company office which housed the supply store and the home of the company agent. Company houses were built for workers with families. The families in Victoria could shop at the two grocery stores in the area that also served as boarding houses and taverns, or they could take a ferry across the river or a stage coach to nearby Rockland or other towns. Though the little town was settling, the Victoria Mine faced difficulties early on and there was no need to run the mine after the Civil War because of low copper prices. Even before that the Victoria mine had closed and reopened several times because of economic depressions and financial problems.
With a renewed interest in copper during the 1870s it looked like the Victoria Mine would be put back to work and in 1899 the company was renamed the Victoria Copper Mining Company. More buildings were constructed for the mine, the workers, and their families. A two room school was built after the reopening of the mine as well as a communal sauna. The company store included a post office, a butcher shop, and supply storage. The supply house was used for dances, movies, and other entertainment. The people of Victoria must have seen a future there because a playground was built for the children of Victoria in 1919.
Complications slowed the restoration and operation of the mine. There was a lack of fuel because a forest fire had destroyed the area timber and Victoria was too inaccessible for coal to be brought in. The mine found its energy source in the Taylor Hydraulic Air Compressor, which was completed at the mine in 1906. The air compressor powered the Victoria Mine all the way through the First World War and supplied water to the company houses. The air compressor outlived the mine, which after a twenty year run closed for a final time in 1921 due to a fall in copper prices.
The land around Victoria was purchased by Copper District Power Company to build a hydroelectric plant in 1929. In 1942, traces of Victoria began to be erased when a flood swept away the frame bridge that had been built in 1900. Subsequent bridges were constructed in its place. The Taylor air compressor ran for the last time in 1951. After the completion of the dam, the town site was again abandoned. A new Victoria Dam was built in 1995 and created the artificial lake called the Victoria Flowage. Hooper Dam and the Taylor Compressor now lay submerged in that lake. After the abandonment of the town site, the Victoria houses were rented out, sold, torn down, or fell victim to vandals and nature. The Society for the Restoration of Old Victoria was formed in 1974 to restore Victoria buildings.