Those high-res images from the Detroit Publishing Company are some of the most detailed looks at the Calumet-opolis that I have ever seen in my four plus years writing CCE. Its a resource thats far too rich to waste on just a few Then & Now posts. In fact the sheer amount of historic buildings and structures that can be viewed on these images deserve their own series of posts – a series that begins today. While I may have a few comparative shots of things as they appear today, this series main focus is to simply provide you a detailed tour of the Calumet that existed at the turn of the century. For those that visit the small village of today, its hard to imagine just how immense this place really was at its height. Hopefully after this series concludes you’ll have a much better appreciation. We’ll begin back at the beginning – at frame one that we first explored during our Tamarack Location tour.
Here’s that high-res image to refresh your memory. We’ve pretty exhuastively covered a great deal of this frame in our Tamarack Tour, but there are a few more landmarks I’d like to bring up today. We’ll start in the upper left corner of the image…
Far back in the distance you can make out a series of tree speckled fields, fields that my have been part of Section 16 Park. Section 16 Park sat alongside M203 just past Lakeview Cemetery and is marked today only by the ruins of an old stone fountain. I can’t find too much about this park, except for scattered references here and there. County maps from the middle of the century place a township park at that same location, though it has since disappeared from more recent publications.
Continuing to the right on that first frame we come across this interesting structure stuck smack dab in the center of Tamarack. This would be the Tamarack’s water tower. Since indoor plumbing had not yet arrived to Tamarack at this time, the tower was most likely there to supply water to the mine for fire protection. Seemingly supporting that theory are the Sanborn maps themselves, which show a dedicated 10″ water main coming down from the general location of the tower to the mine site. Water for the mine’s boilers was supplied by a reservoir sitting to the south-west in property now part of the Swedetown Recreational Area.
Next up we have the towering hulk – eight stories high – of the Tamarack No.5 shaft / rock house. The No.5 plummeted nearly a mile straight down into the earth, making it the deepest ming shaft in the world at the time. Its so deep in fact that it actually bottoms out in the neighboring Osceola Lode, which is why C&H would later use this shaft to dewater the Osceola No.13. Rumor has it that the vast wetlands west of Tamarack were the result of that dewatering process, but I’m not so sure…
Along with that massive rock house the No.5 surface plant features several more rather impressive structures – some of which can be seen here. The large building slightly to the left is the hoist building, while the smaller building in front of it housed the compressor. The No.5 featured an unique dual hoist system, with each hoist working its own set of compartments in the shaft (the shaft had a total of five compartments). This required the addition of those odd protrusions to the front of the hoist building, one for each hoist. Up on the hill overlooking the mine is the short lived community of West Tamarack. Though roads were cleared and land platted, the location never attracted too many workers and would slowly fade away. You can still see the road grid of the old town on aerial images, however.
Before leaving the first frame for good, we take a quick stop down at the frame’s bottom edge to view a close up of one of the Tamarack’s surface plant structures. For those in the know the identity of this structure should be clear – its a hoist building. (look for the cables coming out of the slot in the front of the building). Its location would make it the No.2 hoist building, but the No.2 already has a hoist that fed it from the north side. I would guess that this was the shaft’s original sinking shaft, before being replaced by its larger sibling nearby. Sanborn maps label this particular hoist as being a measly 600 HP engine, with the shaft’s actual hoist rated at over 2300 HP. The sign on the door says “No Admittance Except —-“, I can’t make out the last word.
Continuing on, we’ll now take a look at the second frame of the high-res panoramic. Once again our Tamarack Tour took care of most of this frames more interesting landmarks, except for what sits our along the horizon.
First of all there’s the remaining pieces of that No.5 surface plant, including its dry house and office. Neither of these structures still stand today, though you can still see the foundation to the old dry house alongside Tamarack Waterworks Road. That field sitting just in front of those structures is today taken up by Calumet’s industrial park. If the shot was taken today you’d see the fenced in compound to the new Calumet Armory in that field.
Moving further right we come across a scattering of homes on the south-west side of Tamarack Dam. Technically these homes are part of North Tamarack, though they sit a bit west of the rest of the community. North Tamarack was created to house workers for the neighboring North Tamarack Mine, specifically shafts No.3 and 4. The reservoir behind these houses was known colloquially as Tamarack Dam, and supplied water for the adjacent mine. The dam and reservoir no longer exists, in their place sits a large wetland instead.
To Be Continued…