Calumet & Hecla RailroadRails and RoadsScrapbook

The Roundhouse that Was

Once again its going to be my attempt to bring back daily posting here on CCE, but this time with a caveat. Its unrealistic to think I can write the same type of posts I’ve been writing for the last few years on a daily basis, its just too much work. So instead I’m going to attempt to create smaller pieces that only feature a couple photos and a very finite focus. The large format exploration and historical pieces will remain, but they will be interspersed with these new smaller pieces. Today we begin with a few photos…

After doing the previous exploration of the C&H Railroad remains, my go-to railroad man Gordy Schmitt sent me a few pics of the old rail yards as they appeared back in the ’70s. (Thanks Gordy!) We’ll begin with the old roundhouse itself before it was converted into the current Calumet Electronics building. Gordy points out that the turntable was still in place and operable at this point. He also notes that the locomotive stalls shown here were converted into simple repair stalls for rock cars and other rolling stock when the railroad converted to diesel.

Those new diesel engines were stored and worked on in three new stalls added to the roundhouse’s north wing. Gordy notes that C&H simply cut openings into the old roundhouse wall to create these new stalls. I had wondered why this was done instead of simply re-using the old stalls served by the turntable. But by comparing the old turntable stall doors with these, itr might be that the old openings were just too narrow for the new engines.

Just for comparison sakes, I added this new photo of the same diesel doors as they appear today under the guise of Calumet Electronic’s loading doors.

Gordy all sent a few shots of the old tracks when they were still intact. Here’s those old tracks as they approached the roundhouse. The old C&H plow seen here sits on a spur leading into the machine shop. (the plow now stands down next to the warehouse and pattern shop) Next to it would have been three more spurs serving each of the diesel stalls in the roundhouse.

Heres looking at the same tracks, but this time looking southwest away from the roundhouse. Everything up to the second switch mechanism seen here no longer exists. That second switch mechanism is point “E” on my map from yesterday.

Great photos Gordy (as usual) and thanks for sharing!

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  1. Now that I think about it, there would have been 4 tracks around the corner, 3 for the enginehouse plus one going over to the turntable for the car repairs

  2. Gordy great pics & info .When was the last year steam was used on the C& H . Also did C & H R.R. ever bring out any steam locos for special events ?

  3. C&H first 2 road diesels showed up in Sept 1948, so I would say after they arrived very little steam was used. C&H did have 2 smaller diesel locomotives they used down in Lake Linden and Hubbell around the mills. Once C&H stopped using the steam engines, they were scrapped. Only one was saved, one of the Mason Bogie type #3 which was kept in the enginehouse in Ahmeek. It was brought out for the centenniels, not operating though.
    But, it lives, and runs pulling passengers at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, according to the website, its the oldest daily operating steam locomotive, built in 1873. Heres a link to the website.

  4. yes Gordy, isn’t that engine @ Greenfield Village named the “Torch Lake”?
    they had two locomotives running the passenger trains when i went there as a kid–the “Edison” and the “Torch Lake”

    i went to the Village and the Henry Ford Museum at LEAST twice a year

  5. these are some great pics. i am working on a table top model of the C&H Mining Complex. I am working on collecting older pics. if anyone has anymore pics, let me know.


  6. Ben: There are a good number of C&H photos here on CCE, just look around for them. Another resource might be Kevin Musser’s Copper Range website. It’s focused on the Copper Range Railroad, but there are C&H photos there. Sadly, Kevin passed away in 2007 so the site is no longer updated, but it is still online. The History button is a good place to start.

    The MTU online archives is another good source, located here:

    Another source is the Mining Artifacts website. Go to the Historic Mine Photos by State button, then look for Michigan Copper. There’s a handful of C&H photos if you scroll down the page.

    Finally, I’ll mention the Superior View photo store, which has a section of online photos. Under occupations click on the Copper Mining link for more CC photos, including some C&H.

    That’s what I’ve got handy in my bookmarks. I’m sure if you start googling you can find lots of other stuff online. I’ve stumbled across various CC photos embedded inside online versions of old mine reports, old newspaper articles, etc. I don’t know what the position of the above listed sites is on the use of their photos, that’s something you’d need to find out.

  7. Rode in the engine Torch Lake at the Henry Ford in about 1976 or so ,as a kid.Noticed the U O P Logo on a plaque it her side ..It was about the donation.The engineer was originally from Ameek or there abouts .

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