Scrapbook Fridays: Picturesque Edition (p2)

For this week’s scrapbook we return to our Albertype Company Picturesque of the Copper Country, featuring a collection of images taken at the dawn of the Copper Empire. Thanks once again to long time reader and friend to this site Craig Aldinger for fixing up these great pics and sending them my way. So without further ado I present the rest of our Picturesque images…

“Black Hills Engine House – Calumet” – The Black Hills was an early name given to what would become the South Hela Mine. These shafts sits to the south end of the C&H empire, running from present day Burger King all the way down to Raymbultown. This particular building housed the Seneca and Houghton hoisting engines, along with an attached boiler house fitted with five boilers (right end of the building in the picture). This building would have sat just south of the Burger King parking lot.

“Engine Room of the Calumet and Hecla” – No idea what specific engine this is, but it is unique one due to its vertical cylinders. Also odd is that it appears to be direct acting on its own hoisting drum (on the left). Most early C&H engines worked through various belts and pulleys to run hoisting drums separate of the engine itself.

“Rock House of the Calumet and Hecla” – The “Rock House” belongs to the Hecla No.3, which sat just to the south of the current day fire station. The view above is looking southward past the shaft and towards the sprawling Fromtenac Compressor House (structure right of stack) and attached Boiler House (structure slightly behind and to left of stack). This entire complex is no more, replaced by a earth-covered pile of debris that is today a firemen’s memorial on the corner of 6th Street Extension and Mine Street – across from Burger King.

“Jumb Engine of the Calumet and Hecla” – No idea what a “jumb engine” unless it’s a type and was suppose to read “jumbo”. Once again I also don’t know what specific engine this is, but its definitely a jumb one.

“Calumet Club House – Calumet” – I’d like to think this is the current-day Miscowaubik Club, which rumor has it was originally C&H’s men’s club house. But the building looks way too different for me to be sure.

“The Rock House at Black Hills – East end of Calumet and Hecla” – Once again we’re looking at the South Hecla portion of C&H’s empire. This rock house sat at the far southern end of the property

“Grones Smelting Works – South Lake Linden” – I believe this is in actuality the C&H Smelter, located in what we know today as Hubbell (but known as South Lake Linden when this picture was taken).

“Trestle and Boiler House – Lake Linden” – The trestle seen here was the bottom end of the C&H Incline, which brought copper filled rock cars down from Lake Linden/ Calumet Hill and into the mills seen in the background. The long building behind the stack is the mills’ boiler house. The horse drawn carriage is riding long present day M-26.

“Lake Linden Stamp Mill, Lake Linden” – Another shot of the C&H mills, this one taken from the vantage point of the approach trestle. The large building straight ahead is the Calumet Mill, with the Hecla Mill sitting off frame to the right.

“Hauling Lumber to Go Into the Mines” – I believe this is the Calumet No.2 shaft house, with the Mackinac Compressor House in the background (the stack belongs to the Superior Boiler House). All these buildings are now gone, with the current elementary school and parking lot taking up the view.

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  1. In the Trestle and Boiler House – Lake Linden” picture was the trestle where the grocery store and parking lot are now?

  2. I think the two engines shown in the two photos sat in the same building side by side. The second engine appears in the very right side in the first photo. The lines of the inside of the building look the same, and the same spiral staircase is in both photos. I’ve never seen a simple conical hoist drum like that before. I assume it just had one cable? Did it have any sort of counter weight?

    1. Joe,
      The original C&H works on the Calumet Lode were 19th century technology. All the shafts except 9&10 South Hecla only had 1 skipway. 9 & 10 South Hecla was 1 shaft with 2 skipways. Not sure what engine is pictured but it was probably used to hoist two shafts. The big Superior engine at its peak hoisted 4 shafts (2,4,& 5 Calumet and 3 Hecla) and drove compressors. So the drums pictures carried one rope for one shaft. The vertical cylinders on the engine were the common design and those engines at C&H were almost always compound, that is the steam was used 2 or three times. In a triple compound the steam goes to a high pressure cylinder, which exhausts into a medium pressure cylinder, which exhausts into a low pressure cylinder, all on the same crankshaft. In theory the final exhaust pressure is zero and you have extracted all the energy from the steam – even better is to add a condenser so the low pressure steam exhausts into a vacuum and you can recover and reuse the water. These engines were happiest and most efficient when they were in continuous motion. They did not like being stopped and reversing them required stopping. Also with multiple drums stopping the engine for one drum would mean stopping it for all – not good. So a single drum was powered on the up trip with some form of clutch to take power from the engine. There was a brake to hold the drum when and where the drum was stopped. Finally on the down trip, the brake and the clutch were both released and gravity took the skip down. All this is independent from the other drums. On the larger plants all this could be quite complex by modern standards which meant the end of that type of installation by the 20th century.

  3. In the 50’s and 60’s, a shortcut from my home in Raymbaultown to Calumet took me in the general area of the current 6th st extension. Railroad tracks were there at the time, and I remember what I believe was the C&H carpenter shop in the area where Burger King currently sits. I have never seen a picture of this facility either on this site or on many others I’ve searched. I’m beginnning to think that the carpenter shop was never captured on film. I hope that’s not the case, and if someone has a pic, I surely would like to see it.
    Martin Bacher

    1. worked with martin bacher and johnny his brother–both were drift miners–Bernie shute–shutes bar–my cousin told me after being in the 1966 C@H drilling contest against fred hawking by C@H offies that they should have bacher brothers in it–show what a drift miner after 35 yrs at drift mining are like

    2. I appreciate your comments Tony….Bernie and I have had a lot of conversations about my dad and uncle John, as well as many other miners of the time. One of my fondest memories is of the numerous conversations, actually lectures, from both my dad and uncle, meant to discourage me from ever going underground.

  4. The Superior Engine house is pictured in the 10th picture. Notice the addition high, nect to the brick dormer. That housed the drive wheel that powered the driven wheel pictured last week at the Gear house. There is enough resolution in this photo to make out the wire rope heading to the Gear house.

  5. Great work on pictures! Many of these I have seen for the first time here.

    And thanks for posting them here. This site is the best!

    I like the close-ups of activity at the old-style Calumet shaft houses. I would love to see more of the early C&H surface plant.

    I think the photographer may have misidentified the shot labelled “The Rock House at Black Hills”. I have seen other pictures of that structure labelled as Quincy Mine. (#7 Rock/shaft house?)

  6. The “clubhouse” is the Agassiz house prior to an addition which included gables. In the KNHP Foster collection there’s an image where the house looks just like this, and it includes the C&H Library across the street. Reference: Foster–Lib Card–#237–Agassiz House–1909

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