With the discovery and development of the Osceola Amygdaloid lode, the fledging mining company of the same name quickly became successful. By 1880 the company had sunk four shafts, and a stable work force had become a necessity. Along the narrow dirt road leading to the mine, the company constructed a row of log houses that would be used to house workers and their families. As the mine grew, so did the number of houses. Soon a second and third street was laid across the location, and dozens of new houses were built, including more opulent houses for mine captains and agents. With families came children, and the company added a school. Within a generation, the mining location of Osceola had grown from a few houses and families, to a bustling village of over 1500.
At the turn of the century Osceola looked something like this. The land owned by Osceola was a small tract squeezed between C&H property to the north and west, swampland to the south and the Mineral Range and Interurban right-of-ways to the east. To the north sat C&H’s Osceola shaft #13 and the community of Raymbaultown. To the west C&H owned South Hecla and the #12 shaft along with the small row of houses featured in yesterday’s post. Snuggled in between them and the Osceola Mine itself was the town.
Originally the town consisted of five main streets: Brush, Depot, Back, School and Store. Brush street was described as a “long and narrow lane”, and was lined on both sides by worker housing. The back of this street also served as the mine agents home for the mine which sat in a quiet grove of pines and maples. Depot street was anchored by the Mineral Range Depot (pictured at the top of this post) and also was home to homes of mine officials and captains. Back Street sat “back of” Depot street, and housed more workers. School Street, as the name implies, was home to the towns wooden school building. Store Street was one of the last roads added to the town, and would become the towns “main street” with the addition of stores and a post office along it’s length.
While Store and School street still exist today, the exact location of Brush, Depot and Back street is unclear. I have labeled on the above map where I believe those roads were located, based a few assumptions. When the Osceola Mine was first established, there must have been a road built to connect the site to the rest of the Copper Country (in order to deliver workers and supplies). This would have been down via the main Hancock to Calumet route at the time – Country Road. I believe that this road turned off of Country Road for a short length (this length is marked as Brush Street still today) and made a turn to the southwest to run along the mine’s four shafts. While this makes sense, the road might have made more sense to just continue straight instead of make the turn. The reason for the turn lies in the location of Depot Street.
Depot Street was home to the Mineral Range Depot which sat alongside the Mineral Range line. This allows for two possible locations for the depot (and two possible locations for Depot Street); either south of the mines along what I think is Brush street, or to the north of the mines along what I think is depot street. The answer lies in the photograph above.
This is a photo looking out over Osceola and South Hecla from atop the #3 shaft house. The line of shafts in the distance are those of the South Hecla Mine, and the building in the foreground still exists today along Store Street. You can also see a line of houses which is a road now referred to as Millionaire street. If you look in front of it and to the left, you can make out a long and slender building sitting by itself along a dirt road. This looks a lot like the Osceola Depot from the picture at the top of this post. (go back and take a look). This leads me to believe that the road sitting alongside it (and visible in the photo behind the depot building) is in fact Depot Street and not part of Brush Street.
This all makes Back Street the street now named Millionaire, which also makes sense. Back street was built after Depot and Brush, and was used to add more housing as the mine grew. (I have also heard it referred to as “in back of” depot street, which also places it where I have) While Depot and Brush have mostly been abandoned, Millionaire is still lined with houses probably due to its younger age.