Turning to the third frame of our high-res panoramic we find ourselves looking out over Yellow Jacket once again, a place we just toured a few posts back. Like last time, we’ll leave the town itself behind and concentrate with what can be glimpsed up on along the horizon. Most notable here is, of course, the massive Red Jacket shaft but there’s a few other landmarks of interest to explore. We’ll start on the upper left side of the frame – with one of the North Tamarack shafts…
This particular shaft / rock house belongs to Tamarack No.3, which for all intents and purposes is the North Tamarack Mine. The No.4 shaft to the north-west (hidden behind the No.3 from this angle) never received such a massive rock house as the No.3, nor did it warrant a very substantial surface plant. For the majority of the Tamarack Mine’s life, the No.3 was its principal producer. The No.3 was another one of the deepest shafts in region, sunk nearly a mile straight down into the earth.
Not to be outdone however, C&H has a monster shaft of its own in the adjacent Red Jacket shaft. After a disastrous fire halted production along C&H’s main surface plant east of town for nearly a year, the company decided it needed a alternate point of egress to the conglomerate that could continue producing if the rest of the shafts were closed down due to fire. Since this new shaft would have to be isolated from the rest of C&H’s underground workings it was decided to take a page from Tamarack’s playbook and mine the lode at depth west of its main surface plant.
The Red Jacket shaft itself was massive, measuring a massive 14 feet by 26 feet. It’s divided into six compartments, two used for utilities, two for men, and two dedicated compartments for rock haulage. The rock house that tops that shaft is even more massive, measuring a hundred feet square and over a hundred feet high. Next door stands an equal massive hoist building, which thanks to the shaft’s vertical disposition could be built right next door. Like Tamarack No.5, the Red Jacket shaft utilizes a pair of hoists each rated at 2850 HP and capable of hoisting 10 tons of rock at over 40 mph.
That rail line seen in the foreground is the same line that makes its way through the center of Yellow Jacket, ending here at the Red Jacket shaft.
Standing next door to the hoist building is the Red Jacket’s boiler house, which is home to five 300 HP boilers. The adjacent concrete stack is one of the tallest in all the land, rising 260 feet into the sky.
Taking a look on the other side of the shaft / rockhouse (to the left in the high-res pan) we have a few more smaller buildings including an office and what Sanborn maps label as a general storage building. A century later, out of all these massive structures and buildings only that warehouse manages to survive..
Here’s that same warehouse as it appears today. Its definately seen better days and judging by the metal frame behind it I would say its most recent role was that of a greenhouse. Interestingly the building’s shaft-facing end has been altered significantly from its original condition – using matching sandstone no less. I wonder what the story is about that….
Continuing our pan to the right across that high-res image we come next to a two parallel lines of homes sitting out apparently in the middle of a field. This is Red Jacket location, a community of worker housing built by C&H to serve employees at the adjacent Red Jacket shaft. The location – and most of the homes seen here – continue to stand still today.
Pulling back slightly from those homes the rise of Centennial Hill comes into view along with the quaint little rock house of the Tamarack Jr. Mine. The Tamarack Jr. was originally an offshoot of the Tamarack but was later operated by the Osceola Mine (though still under the same Clark-Bigelow investment interests). The mine was not a producer, and by the time this image was taken would have been shut down for several years. The lack of smoke from the stacks would seem to substantiate that fact. When operating the mine’s two shafts (No.2 shaft is seen here) were connected to a shared rock house by a raised tramway, which can also be seen in the photo.
As far as Centennial Hill, its one of three hills that surround Calumet-opolis like castle battlements (joining Tamarack Hill to the west, and Swedetown Hill to the south). Atop this particular hill sits the community of Centennial Heights, platted by the neighboring Centennial Mine as a way to produce income off its non producing lands. The tall building on the far right (just about off the image) is the Centennial’s water tower.
That share rock house belonging to the Tamarack Jr. Mine can be seen on the left side of this close up pic. More interesting to me, anyway, is the silhouetted bluff of the Cliff Range on the horizon. The row of homes in front of the mine sit along the road to Centennial Heights and could be considered Tamarack Jr. location. However when the mine went under, most of these houses were vacated and left to ruin. Not a single one of these houses continue to stand still today.
To Be Continued…