Well after more then a few weeks of exploring the greater Calumet metropolitan area we finally come to the end, with the final frame of our high-res panoramic image. This particular frame looks out across the surface plant of the Hecla and South Hecla Mines along with the sprawling railroad shops belonging to the Mineral Range railroad; and in the far distance, the community of Raymbaultown. While we’ve generally begun our tours up along the horizon, this time we’ll take a look at the bottom of the image and those MIneral Range shops.
This sprawling complex belongs to the Mineral Range railroad, and features the railroad’s impressively sized 16 stall (!) roundhouse. But at the time this photo was taken this particular structure was rather new, and just a few years earlier would have consisted only of the pitched roof section of the building seen on the right. That’s because just a few years earlier it would have been the Hancock & Calumet Railroad that had itself a roundhouse here, not the Mineral Range.
If you look to the left of that new massive roundhouse you’ll find what looks to be yet another locomotive house. In fact it was this building that served the Mineral Range railroad just a few years earlier, and not that massive 16 stall beauty that can be seen in the photo. Thats because at that time the competing Mineral Range and Hacock & Calumet railroads ran through this corridor together side by side. On the east side ran the Mineral Range line, and it was there that they built their Calumet locomotive house. On the west side was the Hancock & Calumet line, and they too built themselves a locomotive house along the tracks.
But fast forward a few years to when these high-res images were taken and you have a slightly different story. By then those once competing railroads had merged, and built themselves the massive roundhouse you see in the photo to store their combined fleets. In a few more years the complex would grow substantially, and that old Mineral Range locomotive house would be demolished.
Here’s a shot of that original H&C RR roundhouse, before the Mineral Range moved in. From this angle you can fully appreciate what beautiful craftsmanship and stonework was afforded such a utilitarian structure.
Heading back up to the top of the frame we find ourselves once again looking across C&H’s sprawling surface plant along Mine Street. Here we find the massive stone buildings housing the mine’s Houghton and Seneca engines, along with the accompanying boiler house. The structure was locally known as the G.H.&S. since it had originally housed a third engine – the Gratiot. The Gratiot engine would end up being removed and shipped down to Lake Linden for use in the mine’s mills. By the time this photo was taken only the Houghton and Seneca were still operating. From what I can tell these engines supplemented the work of the Frontenac at the mid Hecla shafts (3 & 4), and didn’t drive any hoisting equipment.
In the background we have the last Calumet region Catholic church – the Sacred Heart. This beautiful sandstone church on Rockland Street was destroyed by fire in 1982 and replaced by a structure with more modern styling. Next door can be seen the spire of the Bethlehem Lutheran church, labeled in the Sanborn map as a Finnish Lutheran church.
Continuing just a short distance to the south we come across yet another massive hoist building belonging to one of C&H’s Osceola shafts – this one attached to the No.14. The No.14 sat on the corner of Calumet Ave and Division Street, alongside the curve in US41 as it approaches the stop light at Lake Linden Ave and Sixth Street extension. You can still see the breather pipe for the capped shaft in a vacant field next to the road. The rest of the structures seen here were demolished however.
Incredibly, the land occupied by that shaft is shared by two of the most unlikeliest companions – grade schools. Sitting alongside Division Street just east of the mine stand the Hamilton and Rockefeller schools.
Here’s another look at those schools, this time taken from a slightly closer angle. (you can see the no.14 hoist building off to the right) These schools served the neighboring Hecla and Raymbaultown locations. The Hamilton School (on the right) featured a total of six classrooms and a student body of 240 students. The Rockefeller school was not on my 1916 school listing, so it must have been closed (or burned down) at some point after this photo was taken.
Down the line we find another conglomeration of stone buildings, these belonging to the Hancock and Pewabic engines. These engines powered the neighboring Hecla No.7 and 8 shafts, including a pair of 25 foot diameter hoisting drums. The neighboring boiler house was 120 feet long and housed a battery of ten boilers. In addition to those two engines, a third Levitt designed engine was also housed here in the smaller stone building in the center of the image. This engine operated the south Hecla’s man engine. In front of that man-engine is another beautiful stone building that served as a Hecla dry house.
Amazingly two of these stone structures still stand. The boiler house (top) can be viewed behind the homes along Calumet Ave in Raymbaultown. Though standing, its currently in sad shape as its roof is in immediate danger of collapsing. The dry house (bottom), however, is in almost pristine shape. It sits just west of Mine Street.
Last, but not least, we come to the end of the line. Here stands the shaft / rock houses of Hecla No.8 and C&H No.13. The No.13 shaft was later replaced by the iconic steel giant still standing up behind the Holiday gas station. Hecla No.8 marks the end of the Hecla Mine and the beginning of the South Hecla, which would continue off to the right end of this frame. The buildings seen behind the No.13 would be part of Osceola Location, which sprawls out south of here on the doorstep of the Osceola Mine. There the sprawling C&H surface plant ends and so too does our tour of the metropolis that it spurned.