A Different Perspective

Several years ago I received an email from a reader who had sent me a remarkably detailed drawing of the Ahmeek No.2 surface plant, a ruin I had just finished exploring on CCE. The drawing was something I had always wished I could produce myself, a detailed rendition of the ruins as they stood today. The drawing inspired me to do similar work on CCE, though my own artistic abilities were not nearly as advanced as what this reader had sent me. Over the next few years I started adding more and more drawings to my exploration posts, a process that culminated in the highly detailed Mohawk No.6 illustrations that I put up last year. I had felt pretty good about myself at that time, but that old reader struck again and sent me a new drawing of the Wolverine Mill ruins – along with his guest post on the same subject. Once again I found myself feeling a bit inadequate, and was inspired to redouble my own efforts in the illustrative front.

That old reader who had both inspired and threatened my ego was a young high school student by the name of Ian Tomashik, a man most of my readers should recognize from that previously mentioned guest post on the Wolverine Mill. After receiving that post I contact Ian to ask if he had any other such drawings laying around. Turns out he did, quite a few actually. It would seem that Ian is a bit of an amateur historian himself, with his amazingly detailed ruin drawings being just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to those ruin drawings, Ian also has more then a few line drawings of old mines in all their operational glory. I thought I’d share a few of these with my readers, providing a bit of a different perspective on what we’ve seen over the past five years here on CCE. Let’s began…

We start with the Tamarack No.2, one of the CC’s more iconic structures to be sure. Ian drew this mainly from old photos of the building as part of a series of rockhouse drawings he put together last year, showcasing the evolution of rockhouse design. In the Tamarack’s case, this building is a combo shaft/rockhouse design, which was a rather popular approach used at the turn of the century in the Copper Country.

Ian calls this an “Old C&H Standard” type, and that’s pretty accurate considering most of C&H’s conglomerate shafts were capped by slight variations of this types of structure. This drawing is very similar to one found in my upcoming ruin-identification guide, right down to the exact same perspective.

Speaking of that Mohawk No.6 hoist drawing, here’s Ian’s take on that same complex as seen from a vantage point of the mine’s reservoir.

Moving further north we get a look at a mine that may be of particular interest to one of my long time readers – the Robbins Mine. Otherwise known as the West Vein, this mine was part of the Phoenix empire and worked a shaft and adit found along the Cliff Range. The boiler and hoist building sits to the left, with the large robust rock house taking up the majority of the frame. The rails seen in the lower right would belong to the Keweenaw Central.

Even further north we have this rendition of the Mandan Mine. While the shaft/rockhouse seen here was based on on old photo of the mine, the boiler and hoist building seen in the enlarged version was an educated guess based on similar structures.

One last drawing, but this one is in glorious color (and one of my favorites). This is a rendition of the North Kearsarge No.3 surface plant, perhaps one of my favorite ruin sites to be found in the Keweenaw. (for sure it’s in the top five). This is a new drawing Ian made just for this series, to fix mistakes he found in an earlier drawing he sent me. These changes centered mainly around the boiler house, after he found new images of the mine that provided a better view of that particular building.

While I love these drawings (and wish I could draw as well as Ian does), the next round he sent me really blew me away. I’ll show you why next…

To Be Continued…

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  1. These drawings are wonderful. So nice to see the buildings imaged as they may have been surmised by the ruins. For those of us old enough to love the history of our area but young enough to not really know how it was, these fill a “desire to know” how it was. Thank you to Ian for his drawings and to Copper Country Explorer for posting these.

  2. Nice job, Ian! I especially appreciate how you took the topography into account — many of these locations had significant hills or cliffs, and the drawings really show how the buildings were set relative to them.

  3. WOW, IAN!!! How cool is that drawing of the West Vein! I am very impressed (and pleased to see it)! You’ll have to arrange a visit so you can see what the forest has taken over since that drawing timeframe. Since Mike says you’re a high schooler I can’t invite you over for beers, but I do grill and can have pop available. Keep up the incredible work, and Thank You from all of us for your artistic talents! Oh, and yea; I’d buy a print of the West Vein in a heartbeat.

  4. Thanks everyone for the compliments! It’s wonderful to know that so many people appreciate my drawings, just like my friends and family do! :)
    Janet – I wish I could go back and see some of these buildings still standing; I’d sit there with a sketchpad all day; I’m glad these can help bring some of the area back to life.
    Jay – You’re not the first person to suggest that, haha, maybe after I get this whole high school thing done with and I need the money I’ll go into business.
    dcclark – Thanks! You’re right, with some mines – especially those along the Cliffs – topography makes their appearance sparkle.
    Roc – I’ll be going into 11th grade this fall, but some of these go back a couple years.
    Capt. Kurt – Thanks, I figured you, owning the mine yourself, would appreciate that drawing! I’d love to accept an invitation, too bad I’m not up there more than a week a year… Mike’s probably posting another of the Robbins shaft I sent him soon, I’ll bet you’ll like that one even better!

  5. Bravo, Ian! These drawings are fantastic! You should consider publishing a book of your drawings along side historical photos of the mine sites. I’d buy one of those in a heartbeat. You could collaborate with Mike on a written histiory of the mines to go with your drawings.

  6. Ian – GREAT work…LOVE IT!!!! Maybe when you get the high school thing done you can go to Tech, take math from Dave, and then work for Mike!

  7. These drawings are amazing. They look like they could be photos. I wish I had a little of the talent Ian has. I am looking forward to see more.

  8. Ian,

    That is very nice work. It adds a dimension of understanding to see an entire layout of a mine in a way that the details can be understood. That does not always come across in the old photos. I think that there is a lot of potential to interpret the mine history through graphic presentation. And there is quite a bit of historical data available that can serve as the building blocks or raw material for a broader presentation. I see a lot of potential in the diagrammatic style of your illustrations with cutaways and callouts, plus your large area perspective views. Keep up the good work.

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