The Removal of the Osceola #13 Hoist

Over at the Copper Country Forums long-time reader Jay had shared a rumor he had heard about the removal of the hoist from Osceola #13. At first I didn’t believe it. Since I knew that a new business was moving into the old Centennial No. 6 surface plant, I assured Jay that the rumor was most likely about that hoist and not the Osceola 13. He was persistent, so I decided to put it all to rest by just driving down there and checking out. Turns out the rumor’s true.

Driving up to the old hoist building I noticed them right away – a collection of large hoist drums sitting out on the ground near the road. There were four in total, each of a different size. None of the drums still had their cables, but they all seem to be in one piece. They look to have been removed carefully, and set on the ground atop some pieces of wood to keep them from rolling away.

Heres a closer look at two of those drums. Besides the pressing question of why they were removed, I wondered why there were four. The drums along with their related parts seem to be separated into two groups – which leads me to believe there was two hoists inside the building. This isn’t uncommon, since I’ve heard that the Centennial No. 3 building has two hoists inside. Its possible that one was a back up for the other, or that one was steam powered and the other was electric.

Sitting near the first group of drums were these large green-colored casings. They’re marked as “W.A. Box, Denver Colorado”. The polished steel inside the “cups” makes me believe that this was a bore for a piston, which moved laterally. This would suggest that the hoist was turned by a crank instead of some type of gearing. Perhaps this was a small steam hoist?

The next thing I recognized was this control platform, which looked to have been carefully removed and then placed here. If the engine was being scrapped I would think that they wouldn’t take as much care to keep this thing in one piece. But if they are saving the hoist – why leave it out here in the elements?

Next was a collection of pieces that I recognized. Most notably was this brake pad caliper, with its pads still attached. I’ve seen an identical piece on the still-intact electric hoist at Champion No. 4. In fact most of the large pieces lying around here look like pieces from that hoist.

Something I didn’t recognize were these two counter-weight looking pieces, which were stood carefully on end behind the control platform.

Heres a large gear rod sitting in the piles of parts – looking almost new.

And here’s a pair of machines that were carefully sat upright next to each other. No idea what these are for either. I don’t recognize them from the Champion hoist either. But the fact that they are sitting here relatively intact makes me think that whoever took the hoist(s) out, dismantled them carefully. Nothing is broke, bent, or otherwise damaged. The pieces are laid out – some on blocks and pieces of wood – carefully upon the ground. It all looks like they’re planning to put it all back together. But if thats the case, why leave them out in the elements? Why not just leave them inside the building? Its all a mystery to me…

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  1. So the rumor is that this hoist has been sold to some far-away mine for actual use… I’m amazed that it’s still in a good enough condition to work after all these years. I suppose it must have been properly oiled up to survive the dust and temperature changes.

  2. Aren’t you glad you went over and checked it out?

    I’m wondering why they took it out so nicely. It seems strange since if it was going for scrap they do it as quickly and easily as possible.

  3. Osceola 13 was built in the late 1950’s, I am sure there was no boiler plant. Just looking at the photos of the drums, the one set closest to you when you snapped it, the end of the shaft on the drum looks to have been cut off a long time ago.
    The ones farther from you look nice and shiny, and look about the right size to fit into those shiny bearing cups on those large green mounts for the drums. Hard to tell with the photos you have posted. To close to see the overall pile of parts.
    The only reason I could think they would remove it all is to load on a truck and not have a truck sit waiting for it to be brought out. Meanwhile the scrappers will show up and start carting pieces away.

  4. Very good dramatic photos, but what a shame that more Copper Country relics are being lost.

    It does appear that this machinery is being dismantled in good order and not for scrap. Where could it be going? China maybe?

    Could you guys tell me where Osceola 13 is located on the appropriate USGS 7.5 topo map? I’d like to consult the map and see where this is located at.


  5. Here’s a link to one of these guys that gets into closed up places and looks around and takes pictures. He was in Osceola #13 and Centenniel #6. One of his photos, black and white, looks like one of
    these hoists. The drums at #6 look way bigger than #13’s.

  6. It’s nice to find a place on the net like this. I am the guy who first reported to Jay that the hoists were being removed.

    The shiny metal cups on the green bases would probably be the bearings for the hoist drum. It looks to be a babbit style bearing, which is basically just a lead based alloy.

    The hoists look like someone is going to salvage them for use. They probably set the peices out that way so a crane can load them up to a number of trucks for transport. The drums themselves are probably pretty heavy and might each be a seperate load.

    It is also highly possible that the parts may not be for a new instalation, but for spares for an existing hoist that someone has.

    This is a very nice site. Thanks for all the information that can be found here.


  7. Steve..

    Thanks for the kind words about the site, and I’m glad you stopped by. Sorry about thinking you were mistaken about these hoists being removed, obviously I shouldn’t be so quick assume things. I was rather surprised when I saw the parts sitting out there, but it was interesting to see none the less. Glad you brought it to our attention so I could get some shots before they’re taken away.

    I’m also not sure why I assumed those shiny metal cups were for a piston, it doesn’t make sense when you look at them in relation to the green bases. Bearings for the hoist drum makes much more sense. Thanks to both you and Gordy for setting me straight. I think I was hoping somehow that an original hoist from before the current surface plant was installed here had somehow survived. I don’t know.

  8. Gordy…

    I wasn’t sure how much of the original plant was left standing by C&H, so I thought it possible. There was a substantial surface plant at the shaft originally, very similar to most of C&H’s other shafts. From the Copper Handbook:

    “Shafts 13, 14, and 15 have large stone engine houses, with a steel engine house at No. 16. Shafts 13 to 17, inclusive, have Nordberg first-motion double conical drum hoists operating 10 ton skips in balance, good for 5,000′ depth each… shafts 13,14,15,16, and 17 have permanent shaft-rockhouses of the same general design as the conglomerate workings”

    This would be around 1908. The surface plant must of succumbed to scrappers some time before that ariel image was taken.

  9. I heard that this hoist was sold off as well as No. 6 Centennial’s hoist. There was only one hoist for No. 13, there was a second hoist in storage at the site, it was located inside the collar house and was a much older hoist, which began its life in the C&H mine on the 81st haulage level servicing a subshaft. Which is probably the reason that allot of the parts bear resemblance to those on the Champion Hoist, as that hoist started its life as an underground hoist in No. 4 shafts subshaft. No. 13 was the same hoist (of Nordberg origin) as No. 6 Centennial, just different sized drums.

    As far as the pictures go;

    the counterweights are for the brake mechanism.

    The drums in the fore-ground in the second picture probably belong to the older hoist, as the main shaft has been torched which would have made getting it back up the shaft easier.

    The fifth picture down shows the carrier for the main bearings, the cup would have held the main shaft of the hoist and anchor the hoist to the foundations.

    Great pictures! Too bad the old girl is leaving the area though, it means there are only three or four hoists left in the area, not including the two that are in museums…

  10. Thanks for the map and photo of the building. This is the location that in my mind I was thinking it might be. A “few” years I stopped there one morning and took some photos of it on a motorcycle trip, although I never knew it was Osceola 13 until now. It was rusty red and almost seemed to be in a residential neighborhood, and def. west of Hwy-41.

    Any news on the fate of the removed equipment?

    What about the hoist building itself?

  11. Sad to see any of this stuff leaving the area. But with no money to take care of whats there, what are you going to do. After seeing the article in the Daily Mining Gazette of Calumet Township looking for cash to help take care of some of these buildings, it really scares a person that cares about the stuff. I can see the day this mine comes down, and I hate to say that, but how many shafts need to be standing for museums. I’ve said it before, I could watch the skip going up and down from our kitchen window when I was a kid, in fact with the wind from the southwest you could hear it or the cable banging. With the windows all knocked out, mother nature is doing her damage from the inside out.
    Hopefully the Township owned the hoists and is getting whatever cash they got for them.
    That hoist building would be nice building for some use, either it or the change/collar building, although I don’t know if I would want a mine shaft in my building, no matter how well covered.

  12. I was looking at the series of photos that Mr Kraft took in 1947, one of the photos, this one in particular:

    It looks like one of the old Hecla shafts is still standing, would be almost right in the middle of the photo, I would imagine, its the one farthest south. That photo its hard to see the stuff. I had purchased this and several other of the Kraft series. Many years ago, you could buy these photos in 8×10 size at many of the “tourist stores”.

  13. Just got word, one of the hoists is probably the Kearsarge hoist. It was an old steam hoist converted to electric and was sold along with Centennial No. 6, and Osceola 13. I guess the steam hoist at No. 3 Centennial is for sale as well…

  14. This seems to be an appropriate spot to bring this up. I have a C&H condensed flow chart from probably the last year of operation. There is a list of active mine on it. The list Osceola #13 and #13 Conglomerate. Kinda leads me to think the were working the Calumet Conglomerate via cross-cuts. Also notable, Osceola #6 and Centennial #6 weren’t on the list. Anyone still out there who can clarify?

  15. I’m sure of connections existing between the Osceola Lode and Conglomerate Lodes, in fact while they were pumping out #13 to resume mining in the late 1950’s they dug a new crosscut from #13 to the old conglomerate workings to help in draining water. But I can’t picture they did to much mining since they were removing the pillars and arches as they shut down the old conglomerate shafts.
    I know who can probably answer this, but don’t think he comes on this board. I’ll send him an email and ask.
    He was with C&H near the end of operations.

  16. Paul & Gordy:

    Here is the information on the above questions. When I was with C & H as a mine geologist the following mines were in operation: Centennial #2 & Seneca #2 (Gratiot) mines on the Kearsarge Lode. The Allouez #3 was mining at time the Allouez Conglomerate. The Centennial #3 & #6 were mining the Lateral Ore Shoot on the Calumet and Hecla Conglomerate Lode. The Osceola #6 & Osceola #13 were mining the Osceola Lode. Kingston mine on the Kingston Conglomerate. In 1966-67 the Centennial #2, Seneca #2 (Gratiot) and Allouez #3 were shut down. This left the Centernnial #3 & #6, the Osceola #6 & #13, and the Kingston mine. These five mines were still operating when the strike took place in August, 1968.
    The Calumet and Hecla Conglomerate lode consisted of two ore bodies that were not connected underground. The main ore shoot (Calumet Ore Shoot) was the mines along Mine Street and the Lateral Ore Shoot at Centennial Heights.
    In 1958 C & H drove a crosscut on 12 level of the Osceola #13 shaft to intersect the C & H Conglomerate. In 1959 mining began and continued into 1961. The grade proved uneconomical and mining was stopped. This was the last attempt to mine the Calumet Ore Shoot. It is confusing because there is a Osceola #6 and a Centennial #6 but the mines are on different ore bodies.
    Gordy & Paul: I wrote a long article on the Conglomerate lodes and would like to send both of you a copy of it. Gordy-I have you mailing address but Paul I need yours. You can send me your mailing address to my e-mail at

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