Guest Post: The Franklin Jr No.2

This is the second guest post by fellow copper country explorer Brian Wereley, who has been kind enough to send me photos and commentary relating to his exploration of the Franklin Jr mine early this past spring.
As I have noted before, CCE is open to anyone who wants to share their explorations with the world. Just email me with your article and photos and I’ll put them up for you. Promise.

I’m not sure where the “Jr” moniker arose, but for the Franklin it represented a second generation in a mine that had fallen on hard times. By 1895 the Franklin’s Pewabic Lode shafts up on Quincy hill had been producing for nearly half a century – and were beginning to run dry. To make matters worse the Quincy Mine had managed to buy up almost every inch of land surrounding the old Franklin property, a move that had seriously hampered the old mine’s ability to drift and stope. In desperation the Franklin turned northward and bought up the defunct Peninsula properties at Boston (more commonly known as the Albany and Boston). This new acquisition became the Franklin Jr.

The Franklin Jr. had the fortune of having two mineral rich lodes running through its property, one of which was the same Pewabic Lode it was mining down south. The other was a conglomerate lode – the Allouez. Over time the extension of the Pewabic proved unprofitable, and the company turned its attention to the conglomerate. In the process it sunk two shafts – the second of which Brian happened to stumble across this spring. He has been kind enough to share his discovery with the rest of us.

Since the hoist house has already been covered on CCE, here is a follow up to the shaft house. There is not too much to see here but a pile of reddish poor rock and the foundations. Following the cut where the rail spur would have previously been I can see the #2 Boiler House smokestack in the distance.

Continuing up the old rail grade your first come upon this poor rock pile on the left.

From the top of the pile you can see the shaft itself down below, its the white square seen through the trees.

The Allouez Comglomerate – the lode in which this shaft was sunk – is easily characterized by its red tinted poor rock and stamp sands. The color of the rock on this pile matches the sands near the stamp mill as well.

Here’s a close look at the shaft, which has been recently capped. The “inscription” on the cap reads: JFM (presumably initials of the person doing the work) 10-04 #2 Franklin Jr. You can see the twisted bolts on the slanted piece of concrete which used to hold the rails in place.

Here’s another view showing the opposite side.

Interesting to me here is the presence of the outside wall of the shaft house, which I hardly find still intact like this. Usually the capping process seems to destroy the shaft house in its entirety, leaving very little left. Obviously some careful capping work.

In addition to the inscription on the concrete cap, there is also an inscription welded on a piece of rail protruding out of the cap’s corner.

Here is one of the wing walls of the nearby rock house as seen from the shaft.

A closer look at the wall.

This rock house foundation seems very similar to one’s I have found at the Mohawk and Trimountain mines. Here, however, the concrete has a distinct red tint that was probably a result from using Allouez conglomerate aggregate in the mix.

Looking up to where ore once upon a time had rained down.

Some views from on top of the foundation, you can see assorted bolts and other hardware where the super-structure once stood.

Above here would have sat the large steel bin in which the copper ore would have been stored. Above that would have been the rock crushers followed by the head-frame itself. This shaft house would have looked very similar to the one pictured at the start of this post (though that one is in fact the No.1)

Here’s a look at one of several cable stand footings making its way east of the rock house.

Before wrapping this post up I thought I’d throw in a look at the site as drawn in the Calumet Sanborn. The No.2 was served by a MR rail spur coming up from Boston Pond. From here it made its way out to the No.2 Boiler complex, the stack of which is still visible above the trees. As for the hoist building, I had previously featured it HERE.

Thanks Brian for bringing us along on your exploration, and especially for the great photos!

12 comments

  1. Found it interesting that when they gave up on the Pewabic lode, the nearly completed new shafthouse at #2 was moved over to conglomerate workings as shafthouse #1. It contained upwards of 200,000 ft of lumber and weighed nearly 250 tons. It was moved 1800 feet across a shaft, over a rock burrow and a swamp and then finished in its new location.
    This was out of one of the Annual Mining Reports for Michigan in 1900.
    I can only imagine the conversation when they were hiring the guy to do it.
    So you want to do what with the shafthouse!!!!

  2. Sorry for the delay, been too busy with work (by my own doing unfortunately)… Any who as Jay said JFM is John McKana, he’s capped most of the shafts in the area that have been capped in recent years. He always tries his best to label them and label them correctly, because as we know time makes it harder to identify these holes… Heck even the Michigan DNR can’t get it right sometimes. He usually tries to mark the corners and the date of the cap to make sure anyone potentially dozing the site is aware of the opening dimensions and orientation… The date is just to document it, and eventually determine if it needs to be recapped (even these things have a finite life span, usually about 50 years but sometimes more!).

    I will try to find pictures of a shaft cross cap cross section and post them to the forum site. My company just sunk back through an old shaft cap, at a different mine, to get into an old shaft to re-hab… Its impressive to see the amount of steel in them!

  3. Clearly, they’re labeled to make the CCE crowd happy! :P

  4. Sorry, can’t answer right now, I’m stuck at the bottom of an unknown mine shaft. ;)

    I was speaking hypothetically. Dale hit the nail on the head as far as what I was thinking.

    Guess we’ll have to wait for Joe to chime in to give us the logic behind labeling the caps.

  5. I suspect a nefarious cover up…

  6. Jay had an inadvertent typo in his first post, misspelling “accident”, hence his second post correcting himself. I think he was speaking hypothetically, trying to find a reason that someone would take extra effort to visibly label a shaft cap. One reason might be that if an accident occurred there, it would be easier for rescuers to find them if those involved knew where they were from the label. I don’t think he was speaking of any particular accident that occurred at the Franklin Jr. site.

  7. Now I find myself waiting for an explanation of this “accident” also…..

  8. Jay, I am just waiting for an explanation of this “accident”.

  9. JFM seems to label the shafts he caps quite reliably. I’ve seen lots of them… the only exception I recall is one big stope hole at Copper Falls. The breather pipe is labeled only as “?” — which really tells you something about how crazy riddled that area is with old mines!

  10. “Accident” ;)

  11. If memory serves me, I believe that JFM (John Something) is the gentleman that our very own Joe Dase used to work for.

    It’s a nice touch that they labeled the shaft. It might be a safety feature though in case of emergencies. You know, “There’s been an accidcent at Franklin Jr. #2 shaft.”

  12. Cool stuff Brian, I’ve always wanted to look into this area. Thanks for sharing it!