CC Scrapbook: Missing in Action Edition

Our look at the lost Milwaukee Hotel along Hancock’s Aztec-inspired Tezcuco Street got me inspired to take a look at a few more lost treasures of the Copper Country – buildings and places long gone before CCE had a chance to document them. Luckily there are many other copper country explorers out there, people like Tom Roberts who made sure to document the Copper Country’s history before it disappeared from view. Because of them we can still explore those lost treasures – insuring that they are never really lost as long as they live on here on the pages of CCE.


We start our tour in Houghton, with a look at one of the town’s missing churches as photographed by Tom Roberts. This is the First Presbyterian Church, a building erected around 1903 at the corner of College Ave and Franklin Street. It would later merge with Houghton’s First Congregational church to form the Portage Lake United Church. That new church would operate out of this old building until the early 1970s when it unfortunately found itself in the way of a proposed highway re-alignment and was demolished. The parishioners moved into a new modern church building further up the road near MTU. Today this spot is now part of Montezuma Street and US41.


Heading across the pond we find this massive brick structure taking up an impressive amount of space along Hancock’s main thoroughfare. This is the old Northwestern Hotel, originally built in 1886 as the town’s premier high-class hotel. By the time Tom Roberts caught it on his camera in 1988 it was known as the Finlandia Building. Ten years later it would be demolished, making room for an expanded parking lot for the adjacent post office (this building happened to be still standing when I arrived in 1995 but I do not recall it unfortunately). The lot continues to stand empty still today – featuring a small spot of green in a congested downtown thoroughfare.


Staying in Hancock for the time being we take a look at a view Tom Roberts could see out of his Grandmother’s home along Lake Street. This old stone stack sat along the Portage shore, possibly part of the old Hancock Stamp Mill complex which once occupied the space. Later it would be home to a foundry and then a sawmill. By the time Tom shot this image – 1988 – that space had been abandoned for some time. All that remained of the old industrial residents was some old docks and this lone stack. Unfortunately today that old stack is no longer with us.


Another interesting ruin Tom photographed that I wish was still around upon my own arrival to the region were these stoic masonry and sandstone walls sitting within what looks to be a rather idyllic setting. These are the remains of the old Quincy No.7 Hoist House, a building that was located in the unfortunately named Kowsit Flats area just downhill from the Quincy Lookout. Interestingly the old engine foundation once located within these walls looks to have been buried by top soil – leaving just the walls themselves standing tall. This shot was taken in 1988, but today the walls are gone.  The area is now just home to an empty field.


One last Tom Roberts shot brings us face to face with the massive front facade of the old Franklin School – a building which once sat tall and proud along US41 just north of the Quincy mine. The building was erected in 1908 to replace a much smaller wood-framed structure at the site. The school was erected by the Franklin Mine to serve the children of the surrounding mining locations. The school was closed in the years to follow the Quincy Mine’s abandonment and subsequently sold to private interests in the 1950s. By the time Tom captured this image in 1981 the school looked to have been wonderfully restored – complete with all new windows and roof (with skylight!). Unfortunately just one year after this picture was taken the building was destroyed in a disastrous fire. Today only its stone foundation remains, though the “Franklin School” sandstone pediment was saved.


We now move away from Tom’s work and feature another fellow copper country explorer – Matt Heikkila. Matt sent me this photo a few months back, a photo of what looks to be one of the Copper Country’s famous stone boats taken in the 1930s. This one, however, is not the one currently found along US41 in Kearsarge, nor is it that boat’s smaller brother located in the old school yard at Centennial Heights. This looks to be a whole different boat, possibly the missing third brother who once resided along the highway near the Franklin School. Yet even that doesn’t seem right, as the road seen in the background seems way too curvy and the topography way too hilly to be near the Franklin Mine. Its possible that this was a fourth stone boat – one previously unknown to have existed. One thing is for sure, however. It doesn’t exist any longer.


Another missing stone roadside attraction can be found above – thanks to a photo sent to me by Dale Gauthier. This is the Trimountain Fountain, yet another old roadside fountain in the same vein as the old one we featured years back along M203 near Calumet. This one I believe once sat along the curvy section of old M26 that once connected South Range with Trimountain – a section that has since been abandoned with the highway’s new alignment up atop Six Mile Hill. I faintly recall this fountain, but I’m not too sure. Perhaps others can help job my memory but I’m pretty sure its not there anymore. The road isn’t even there anymore.


We wrap up our nostalgic journey with another set of reader-provided photos, this time a series on the old Allouez Mine as photographed by Hans Schlegel. More specifically this is Allouez No.3, more generally known as the Allouez Douglass Shaft. We’ve explored this old mine before, and have also featured another set of photos taken by fellow explore Paul Meier. Paul’s photos, however, were taken in the 1970s while these were from a good decade earlier.


Here’s a good look of the old mine’s shaft / rock house – a wood framed structure standing about a dozen stories high.


Most interesting about Hans’ shots is the old  rock car which still stands waiting its turn at the rock bins inside. The orange color and black striping was the typical color scheme C&H used on its rock cars at the time – the operator of the mine at the time.


Another interesting piece of equipment can be found out at the poor rock pile. Above we can glimpse an old poor-rock tram car, which would have ran up that inclined railway to the top of the pile before dumping its load of copper-less rock. I’m assuming the car was pulled up the hill by an endless loop system connected to an electric winch possibly housed in that small shack seen at the base of the power pole.

Unfortunately this mine is only. a memory, as almost all of its structures have been removed from the landscape. Even that rock pile itself is a shadow of its former self, the rock crushed and hauled off for road projects across the peninsula. Yet like the rest of the missing items seen in this post the old mine lives on thanks to the foresight of fellow copper country explorers who documented them when they were still with us. That’s a good thing, as it allows those of us to young to have seen them ourselves (or to notice in the case of the Northwestern Hotel) can see them for ourselves.


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  1. More great stuff, Mike. It’s nice to see the Northwestern (aka the Linder Block) in the 1980s. I’m told that it was in *really* bad shape when it came down in the 1990s. I never had the pleasure of seeing it.

    I believe you’re correct re: the old stack on Portage Lake. It likely was part of the Hancock Mine’s stamp mill.

    The Franklin School photo is fantastic. What a terrible loss.

    My favorite here is the stone boat. On first glance, it does appear to be a fourth boat. That said, I can’t completely dismiss it being the third one, the rubble of which is still present off of US-41 near the turn to Paavola. (It’s on private property.) It’s difficult to tell from the camera angle and 80 years of passing time. Identifying this boat is a mystery well worth solving.

    The Trimountain Fountain is great, too. It does look very much like the one on M-203 west of Lakeview Cemetery.

    Looking forward to seeing more of these treasures. Thanks!

  2. My mom was really upset when they took down the church. She spent many hours there between religious obligations and social events like pasty dinners. I remember that they had raised funds for a new organ and something about how they weren’t going to move it to the new building. Kind of amazing really, when my grandmother died; the ladies of her church “circle” took us out for lunch. She had moved down to MN in her late 80’s because of failing health. One of the ladies as we later found out was the wife of the president of Tech. The ties that bind the community are strong.

  3. Yes, the Trimountain Fountain was on the curvy road between South Range and Trimountain. My family stopped there many times when I was a child (grew up in Toivola). I once found a large plastic die (from a pair of dice) floating in it. I kept that die for years. I believe the fountain was moved to the front of the South Range fire hall, but Im not certain.

  4. Thanks for the photos of Allouez #3….several that I had not seen previously. My father and uncle worked there…..I believe from the early 50’s until the mid 60’s. They were contract miners and partners….worked for Howard MacLoud.

  5. Here’s a shot of the M-203 fountain in October, 2016.
    If my GPS was correct, it’s at latlong 47.2496,-88.5109:

    What a neat stone boat! Rougher construction, but with 3 “decks” instead of 2 on its Kearsarge and Centennial Heights brethren.

    I searched for the ruins of the Franklin Mine boat last year with no luck, but I was hunting down closer to Lake Annie road.

    If it’s on private property I’ll leave it be.

  6. The photos of the Allouez#3 mine bring back memories from the 1960’s. In 1966 &1967 I was one of the mine geologists at the Kingston mine. There were 3 of us mine geologists at the Kingston and the mine had a geologist on duty every shift 24 hours a day and 5 days a week. On my off shift on day shift I would go down with the mine captain one a month at the Allouez #3 mine. They were mining the Allouez Conglomerate and only had 2 stopes in operation and a small crew. The stopes were very rich and large barbs of native copper sticking out of the face of the stope. I collected some very nice copper specimens from these two stopes. The mine closed down in 1967 and that was it for this mine. A crosscut had been driven from the Allouez #3 to the Kingston on 6 level and sometimes on swing or graveyard shift when I had time I would walk over to the Allouez #3 via the long crosscut and look for mineral specimens in the stopes with good luck sometimes.

    1. Tom,
      You would be the one to know for sure. 1. Was the Allouez #3 property actually owned by Copper Range with C&H operating it via some legal deal? 2. I have also heard (or read someplace) that there were also some amygdaloid rock mined through that shaft, do you know if that happened?

  7. Paul:

    Crosscuts were driven on the 6, 12, and 30 levels of the Allouez #3 mine to intersect the Kingston Conglomerate at depth. Drifts were run both north and south for short distances and mill tests were performed on the Kingston Conglomerate. When driving the crosscuts to the Kingston Conglomerate the Iroquois Lode was intersected and drifted on. I don’t know how much ore was mined but I don’t think it was much. There was another amygdaloidal flow top intersect that was mineralized. This was named Caroline or Katherine or something close to that-I have the map in Calumet. The name came from the daughter of an official of C & H in Calumet. As far as Cooper Range owning the land I think they owned the down dip extension of the conglomerate beds and some type of a royalty deal would have to have been made.

  8. I know that C&H’s Ahmeek 3-4 had a deal with Copper Range to mine what they owned and pay a percentage, I can’t remember if it was 3 or 4 though. Of course I can’t find what I read it in now.

    1. Tom & Gordy,

      I have some old C&H flow charts they gave to visitors in the ’50s & early ’60s. In one of the lower corners they listed the active mines (or properties). The Peninsula was one named. As a kid I tried to figure out where the Peninsula Mine was hiding but finally concluded that it was a property mined through one of C&H’s shafts. Peninsula is an old name which appears often and perhaps the company came to be owned by Copper Range.

  9. I remember the Northwestern Hotel well! My first memories were when my dad would take me down to visit the Siller family since they owned it at the time. The Siller bar was on one side and the family lived upstairs. They had two children, Michael, Jr. and Marianne (( think that was her name). Mike was a few years younger than me so we usually played while the men had a few beers and visited. The Siller family also owned the local Pontiac and Buick (GM) dealership at the end of the main street in Hancock. It was called Siller Motor Company. There were two brothers, Mike and Edward were my father’s bosses there. My dad, Alvin Lundman ran the Parts Dept. and did the estimates of accident damaged cars and did that until his death in 1963. Mike Siller had died unexpectedly in a car accident on a Christmas Eve in the late 50’s.. While doing research on my family history in the Copper Country, I discovered that my great grandparents from England, named John and Harriet Hocking were listed as being the first Hotel owners/operators of the Northwestern Hotel. I had one copy of that place and figured that it must have been the Siller place. John ran a bar and I have a few photos of the inside. Harriet’s family was from the Isle of Jersey in the Channel Islands of the U.K. I believe that Harriet’s parents had previously ran a hotel/boarding house so perhaps that was why they were drawn to open the Northwestern Hotel.

    1. Kathleen – Your great grandparents would have been affiliated with the original Northwestern Hotel, on the same site. John Hocking passed prior to the New Northwestern Hotel, the one that survived until the 1990s, being erected. Your great grandparents also lived next to Michael Finn, another early community leader who was the village/city clerk for 37 years. Oh, the stories they must have had – assuming they spoke to each other being English and Irish. I have a deep interest in Hancock history and would dearly love to see the early photos you have. If you’d like to contact me I can be reached through Cheers! – John

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