Copper Docks

Continuing along with those high resolution photos (we’ll go back to regular programming next week) we have a couple of short shots showcasing just one of the region’s many copper docks that were once used to transport the Copper Country’s copper goods across the world. This particular dock belongs to the Copper Range Company, and still exists (to some degree) along Houghton’s waterfront. What’s most interesting about this photo is what’s missing from it… I’ll let you all notice for yourselves…

This is from the same dock, just the opposite angle. In the background stand the coal handling facilities for the Copper Range (in front) and the Van Orden Company (in back). The Copper Range coal dock is now the Houghton public docks while the Van Orden dock is part of the Chute’s and Ladders park (Otherwise known as Kestner Park). What’s most interesting to me here is the fact that they’re loading copper onto what appears to be a passenger ship. That’s far too many lifeboats up there for a simple cargo ship. I wonder what the reason was for this? (or maybe it was a regular occurrence – boats that served double duty for both freight and passenger service)

Well thats all for our high-res series. Hope everyone enjoyed. I’m sure to do more in the future but for now it’s time to return to some ruin explorations, specifically the old Centennial / Arcadian Mill.

11 comments

  1. I think it marks a batch from a particular smelter. It looks like the same number is on all the ingots in each pile.
    I wonder if the guy with the hand cart looking at his finger got it pinched, I noticed no gloves on anyones hands.

  2. John From the Prairie

    Each ingot has a number written on the end – was that number covered in the casting room threads, and if not, do we know what that number means?

    That’s a lot of pure copper.

  3. Heres a panoramic veiw of Ripley, nice view of the Quincy Smelter.
    http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/S?ammem/pan:@field(SUBJ+@od1(Michigan–Ripley+))

  4. It looks brand spanking new in the photo. If you’ve ever did any great lakes boat watching you know how beat up the paint job near the water line can get.

  5. According to the link that Doug posted, the Juniata was built in late 1904. Another web site where I saw this same photo of the Juniata said it was taken in 1905. Another web site said the bridge ramming mentioned above happened on April 15, 1905. The late Kevin Musser’s Copper Range website said the repaired bridge was reopened by April 8, 1906. So these photos were taken somewhere within that one year span, meaning the ship was brand-spanking new at the time this photo was taken!

  6. One question,what are the numbers on the end of the copper ingots for?
    Great site, I anxiously await every entry!q

  7. Yeah guys its the missing swing portion of the bridge I was referring to. The picture was taken (as was all these photos in the series) the same year the bridge was struck by a boat resulting in the swing portion’s demise. It took a full year before it was finally replaced.

  8. John From the Prairie

    Is the missing thing a bridge that swings?

  9. You’re right on about Great Lakes steamers carrying both passengers and freight. Freight was the moneymaker, but since most of these boats were owned by railroads, the passenger cabins on the upper decks gave the railroads a boost in advertising and revenue. That way, the railroads could easily transport passengers to and from stations in ports all over the Lakes and still keep the money in the company. If you ever get the chance, check out the SS Keewatin, which is a museum ship down in Saugatuck/Douglas, Mich. It’s advertised as the last Great Lakes passenger steamer, and you get a good look at the upstairs/downstairs nature of a combined passenger and freight steamer.

  10. The ship in the 2nd photo still exists. See this link

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milwaukee_Clipper

  11. Chutes and Ladders has a NAME? (Besides Chutes and Ladders, that is.) Wow, the things I don’t know…

    Anyhow, I’m guessing this photo was conveniently taken just after the old bridge was smashed up by a freighter. Do I win?

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