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The village of Ahmeek is the smallest incorporated municipality in Michigan, by land area, and it's less than a mile and a half from Copper City, the second smallest municipality in the state.

The 0.07 square mile village has a population of under a hundred and fifty people. Its peak population was 892 in 1920, but it has lost population every census year since, other than 2000, when nine people were added to its rolls.

Ahmeek is in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in the central-southern portion of Allouez Township, in southern Keweenaw County, near Houghton County. Ahmeek is the only incorporated municipality and the largest community in Keweenaw County, but the county seat is in Eagle River, an unincorporated community eleven miles north-northeast.

The chief route to and from the village is US-41. Although the highway doesn't enter the village limits, it nearly touches the southeast corner. Other routes include 5 Mile Point Road (Bollman Street), and Takku Farm Road (Wright Street). There are only eight streets in Ahmeek, with Wrights Street being the only one longer than two blocks.

There are four other incorporated villages within ten miles of Ahmeek: Copper City, Calumet, Laurium, and Lake Linden. The cities of Hancock and Houghton are fifteen and eighteen miles away, respectively. Additionally, the surrounding region includes several unincorporated communities; within ten miles of Ahmeek are Ahmeek Location, Allouez, Bumbletown, Mohawk, Fulton, Kearsarge, Wolverine, Centennial, Centennial Heights, Tamarack, Swedetown, West Tamarack, Lakeview, Osceola, and Gregoryville. Most of the cities, villages and hamlets in this part of the Upper Peninsula are historically connected to copper mines, many of which survived as small communities, or larger.

Ahmeek is well within the UP's Copper Country and, like most western Upper Peninsula towns, the mineral deposits in the area were what brought the first European-American settlers. Mining in the area began around 1880 as an exploratory branch of the already operating Seneca Mining Company working the Kearsarge Amygdaloid Lode, the operation became the Ahmeek Mining Company at the turn of the 20th century. The first mine opened in 1902, and the Ahmeek Mining Company began construction on homes for its workforce in 1904, building five-room homes at a cost of less than a hundred dollars per home.

Joseph (John) Bosch is recognized as the village founder. He had founded the Bosch Brewing Company on the Keweenaw Peninsula in 1874, with its operations in Red Jacket, which is now Calumet. In 1907, the village hall was built, which include offices, a courtroom, and a small jail, and Ahmeek was incorporated as a village in 1909. A post office was established in Ahmeek that same year, with James A. Hamilton serving as postmaster. Reportedly, the name was derived from the Ojibwe word for beaver, as beavers were prolific in the area.

The profitability of the copper mines in Ahmeek, the village grew quickly, nearly reaching a population of nine hundred by 1920.

It wasn't long before area miners began pressing for unionization. As a large percentage of the mining workforce in Copper Country were recent immigrants from a number of European countries, including Hungary, Ireland, Finland, Russia, and Sweden, union efforts were difficult and contentious, especially when faced with opposition from mine owners. Beginning in nearby Calumet, the Copper Miner's Strike of 1913 and 1914 reached Ahmeek, where strikers fired on a train bringing detectives hired by the mining companies, and blew up a smokestack at the Ahmeek mine. The strike lasted until April 12, 1914, when all but seventeen of six hundred miners voted to end the strike.

Ahmeek's position as a boomtown was short-lived, however. The decline of the copper industry began in the 1920s, and the Great Depression also contributed to the village's decline. The Ahmeek mine remained in operation until 1966, but its operations were sharply curtailed from what they had been.

Several other businesses were opened by villagers who did not wish to move from the area, such as an ice cream factory, an ice company, meat market, restaurants, grocery stores, and an agate shop, some more successful than others.

Today, many of the houses in Ahmeek are those originally built by the Ahmeek Mining Company. Ahmeek is far from a boomtown, but local businesses serve residents, passersby, and those who come to the area for outdoor recreational opportunities or for other reasons, such as to explore the ruins and remaining buildings of the mining operations.

Websites representing the village government, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events are appropriate topics for this guide.



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