HCTC

“The boom years that occurred at the turn of the 19th century quickly transformed Calumet and the surrounding communities into a modern metropolis. Electric lights, paved roads, modern plumbing, and even opera houses quietly ushered in a new modern era. The coming of the trolley line in 1901 yelled it from the rooftops.

The Houghton County Traction Company started in 1900, building an interurban line between Houghton/Hancock and Boston Location. While the villages and towns across the copper country welcomed this development, the mines (most notably C&H) were adamantly opposed to them. Trolleys would allow dispersed workers from across the communities to easily travel to centralized locations – possibly even union meetings. The ugliness climaxed with C&H threatening the village of Red Jacket with cessation of water service if the trolley was allowed right-of-way on village streets. In the end however the trolley – and the progress it represented – could not be stopped. The line was fully extended to Calumet and further north to Mohawk by 1908.”

Snow and Ice

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Photo courtesy Superiorland Library Cooperative, Andrew C. Curto Collection The Houghton County Street Railway was not incredibly remarkable , it was just one of  hundreds of such street railways that were being put into service all across the country. Like the steam railways before it and like the automobile to …

A Trolley Ride (p11)

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After leaving Mohawk it took us another hour to make the return trip back to the Calumet metropolitan area. As we once again approach the Albion Station wye our car makes a right turn, and slows to a stop at the northern side of the station. From here our car …

A Trolley Ride (p10)

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Over the course of the summer of 1908 a five mile extension of track was built along the Houghton County Street Railway, connecting Mohawk to the rest of the already established system. It was the last section of track to be built for the line, but the first for the …

A Trolley Ride (p9)

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Moving past the Florida car barn and substation the street railway enters the population center of the entire peninsula – the sprawling metropolis known collective as Calumet. In reality Calumet is a smorgasbord of communities, villages, and mining locations scattered around the great C&H Mine which anchors Calumet’s center. In …

A Trolley Ride (p8) – The Substation

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With our journey along the Lake Linden Branch finished, our return trip back up the hill to Laurium took another half hour. It was slightly before 10 am by the time we arrived at the top of the hill and Lake Linden Junction. If we were to return to Houghton …

A Trolley Ride (p7)

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Having made our way down the steep hillside our street car finally enters the village limits of Lake Linden, though at its far northern end. We roll past a few homes along 13th Street before making a right turn onto the village’s main thoroughfare – Calumet Ave. This street runs …

A Trolley Ride (p6)

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The Lake Linden Branch was first proposed by the Houghton Country Street Railway Company in 1901, used as a bargaining chip in its attempt to acquire franchise rights through Laurium’s public thoroughfares. The ploy worked, but the line itself wouldn’t come to fruition for another two years. By then Torch …

A Trolley Ride (p5)

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Photo courtesy Superiorland Library Cooperative, Andrew C. Curto Collection After our brief stop at Electric Park, our motorman once again starts up the street car again and we continue along our journey. North of the park our car passes through a narrow tunnel lined with trees and brush on either …

Scrapbook Fridays: Electric Park Memories Edition

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Back before I had even begun my 14 part opus on the Houghton County Streetcar, I received a nice email from reader Robert Muraski whose wife had written a short historical reminence  on Electric Park several years ago. While she had planned on publishing it, she never got around to …

A Trolley Ride (p4) – Electric Park

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While it may be nice to envision the rise of electric railways in terms of  private companies investing in the public good, in most cases electric railways were attempts by electric light companies to create additional demand for their power. At the dawn of electricity, the new  power source was …

A Trolley Ride (p3)

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Moving past the Hancock Car Barn, our Lake Linden bound street car turns eastward towards the collection of mining communities located atop Quincy Hill. Along the way we pass by the towering rock house of the Hancock Mine and its equally impressive surface plant. Here we leave the surface streets …

A Trolley Ride (p2) – The Car Barn

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Photo courtesy Superiorland Library Cooperative, Andrew C. Curto Collection The car barn was a street railway’s home, its center of operations and the point which all the line’s cars would find themselves at the end of the day. Cars would be stored here during the night hours, uncoupled from the …

A Trolley Ride (p1)

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Though not the largest in the state the 32 miles of track that make up the Houghton Country Traction Company electric railway manage to travel across a great swath of the peninsula,  making its way through several dozen towns, cities, mines, and rural areas in the process. The line is …

The Houghton County Street Railway (p2)

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At its height, the great Copper Empire was home to nearly a hundred thousand people. Most of those people lived within a narrow 30 mile tract of land between the Portage to the south and the Allouez Gap near the Keweenaw County line. Along this region operated more then two …

The Houghton County Street Railway (p1)

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The arrival of the industrial age ushered in a new era in how, and where, people congregated across the nation. As our agricultural economy transitioned to large scale manufacturing, the country’s cities began to expand exponentially. Workers flocked into cities for work, requiring a greater number of homes, apartments, stores, …

A Streetcar Revisited

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Several years ago during CCE’s informative early years we had come across the remains of an old trolley car rotting away in a field atop St. Louis Hill. For an early CC explorer it was an amazing find, and something completely unexpected and out of the ordinary. Well several years …

Railroads of the Copper Country (HCTC)

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A HCTC car stopped at the Douglas House station With the arrival of electricity to the Copper Country came the formation of the Houghton Country Street Railway Company in 1899. Utilizing a new method of vehicle power – the electric motor – the company constructed a power station along the …

Trolley in a Field

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The boom years that occurred at the turn of the 19th century quickly transformed Calumet and the surrounding communities into a modern metropolis. Electric lights, paved roads, modern plumbing, and even opera houses quietly ushered in a new modern era. The coming of the trolley line in 1901 yelled it …