Jun 27-10

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2010: June: Jun 27-10
Concrete pavement at Mohawk    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from Neil Harri
Earlier years Ahmeek #3 and #4    ...scroll down to share comments
 Photo from Neil Harri
Old US-41 path    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from Kraig Mahrley
New US-41 path    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo courtesy Google Earth

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 07:57 am:

The year I first came to the Copper Country, a mine known as Ahmeek #3 & #4 ceased operation (April 27th 1965 to be exact). I was 13 at the time, two months later that year, riding the big yellow bus from the downstate Pontiac area - some 500 miles, bound for Eagle River. But I do remember passing through Mohawk, around the closed mine, just minutes after the bus had come down Bumbletown Hill, where I recall seeing the radar domes up at Mt. Horace Greeley.

A few years later that curve coming into Mohawk was reconstructed - not quite as sharp, with a distinctive concrete design. Here we are, over 40 years later. The mine is gone... the radar domes are gone... but that stretch of concrete highway is still in service.

Most state and county highways in Michigan are less expensive blacktop, which has to be replaced more often. We remember some of the old timers telling in second and third-hand accounts that the Mohawk concrete pavement was an experiment by MDOT to compare the longevity of concrete to blacktop. It would be interesting to know if any highway engineers tune in to the Pasty Cam.

Neil Harri provided the first Showbox Memory of that late 1960's construction. You can see the present-day Superior Woodworks building in the distance. Neil also had the second shot, coming to those buildings from a different angle, back when the mine building was still there.

The last two photos are more than a half century apart, aerial views showing how the contour of US-41 changed when they constructed that segment of concrete pavement. Notice in the satellite view, the old highway that veered around the mine building is still visible from above. You can see more old photos of this interest corner of the Copper Country in Kraig Mahrley's collection at Superior Woodworks

Have a good week :o)

By Kenty (Dashamo) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 08:32 am:

Wow Charlie, these pics sure do bring back memories. In the third picture I can see the old Mohawk School buildings, the county barn, the building where the old Mohawk post office was located, even Central Street in Fulton where I lived. Thanks!!

By michael adams (Adzie) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 09:28 am:

i remember when i was a young boy living in copper city,myself and the stukel boys would go down to the sand pit and watch the dump trucks haul truck after truck of sand to build that road. was also on the old highway waiting for the construction crew to blast the old cement deadhead, darn near put my head through the roof when the charge was set off.

By Thomas Baird (Thomas) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 09:51 am:

Some nice historic pictures. Those are fun to look at.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 10:10 am:

I see in the photo descriptions that "Ahmeek No. 3 and No. 4" is one of the labels, yet I only see one headframe in the photo. So why then is it called 3&4?? J

Love looking at the historic mining photos from the Keweenaw; I wished I could have seen it in its heyday.......

By Kenty (Dashamo) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 10:40 am:

Capt. Paul,

There were actually two mines at this site, with both sharing the same rock house. You can see by the photos at the Superior Woodworks site that there are several hoisting cables coming from both hoist houses. I'm not sure which of the two mines was closed first but when my Dad worked there in the mid 60's only one of the mines was operating.

By doug 6540 (Cwo) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 11:08 am:

Great photo's Charlie, especially the third one. I went back to Fulton to try and find "Shoepac" Alley last year but so overgrown could not locate it. After closely looking at the photo I could see where it was then and also the "Bucket of Blood" Bar. Thanks for the memories....

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 12:11 pm:

I am old enough to be fortunate enough to have had several surface tours of Ahmeek 3&4. The shafthouse was huge on the scale of Red Jacket and Tamarack 5. The Ahmeek 3&4 territory was limited by the Mohawk property. The Ahmeek Company worked the Kearsarge lode at depth with 2 shafts that surfaced in the big shafthouse. The two entered the earth at an 80 degree dip and also diverged from each other at what looks like 30 degrees so their bottoms were quite some distance apart. The shafts also curved out to match the dip of the Kearsarge lode at depth. Originally the two shafts were hoisted with two identical Nordberg 2 cylinder steam hoists with 5000 ft capacity. Around the late 1930's when C&H owned the Ahmeek, C&H moved one of the big 4 cylinder Nordberg hoists from Tamarack 5 to hoist number 3. This was located in the tall steel building behind the boilerhouse and original hoisthouse. That hoist was almost as big as the Quincy hoist and it was awesome to stand next to it as it operated. The smaller hoists and the compressors were also neat to watch. We always tried to visit in time for the "man" trips. One could watch them take off one of the skips, hook up a mancar, and bring up the miners. The coordination among the landers, platmen, and hoist engineer was amazing. This was back in the pre-litigious 1950's when visitors were welcome. All you had to was walk on and sign the guest book.
Note I use the term "shafthouse" while Kenty uses the term "rockhouse", both were the common name for such structures back when the mines were in operation. The new term "Shaft-rockhouse" was coined by modern historians and industrial archeologists who seem to need more definition in structure names. Were they to follow through with this tendency, it would follow that the proper new name for the structures like Ahmeek 3&4 and Quincy #2 would be "Shaft-rock-collarhouse" since the one structure served all three functions. If one were to travel back in time to the Copper Country and start babbling about "Shaft-rockhouses", one would be met with amusement.
Thanks for the photos.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 01:40 pm:

Very Good!! I knew someone would pass the "PastyCam" lesson of the day...... ;-)

By Kenty (Dashamo) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 03:35 pm:

Interesting facts Paul. As a young boy in the Copper Coutnry I was always in awe of the mines. Sure wish I could have seen those steam engines in operation because I ended up in the stationary engineering trade for 30+ years now. The only engines I ever got to operate were at Greenfield Village and an old steam driven air compressor at a paper mill I worked at. None compared to the hoist engines at the mines.

On another note, the "man cars" at Ahmeek 3&4 were referred to as "cages" by the miners because of the fact that they were enclosed due to the long almost veritcle drop into the mine.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 04:19 pm:

My Dad took me to see Uncle Ed come up from the mine. I don't know what mine, but it was near Kearsarge. This was in the 50's. There was nothing to sign. There was no official there. We walked up and waited for the car to come up.

By J T (Jtinchicago) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 06:17 pm:


I'm probably way off but are not the two images above taken with "North" off to the left?

Also, and again my memory is probably off, but wasn't the "Bucket of Blood" bar in Copper City? Perhaps 100 years back there was a franchise-like "Bucket of Blood Bar" in every Copper Country town.


By Kenty (Dashamo) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 07:53 pm:

JT, The bar they referred to as the Bucket of Blood was on Fulton Avenue just down the road from Bethany Lutheran Church in Mohawk. When we were kids, there were two bowling alleys there and the bar tender would let us bowl 10 cents a game and we set our own pins. I can't think of the guys last name but they used to call him "Crabby Jack". LOL

By E. Neil Harri (Ilmayksi) on Sunday, June 27, 2010 - 09:13 pm:

Crabby's last name is Salada and he still lives in Lac LaBelle.
My dad worked in Mohawk #3 and Ahmeek until he was injured. I have a piece of copper from underground when he worked there.
William {Pet} Petaja used to take my brother and I riding in his dump truck. One of the jobs he had was hauling poor rock from Mohawk #3.
He would park under the chute of the shaft house and they would open it and fill the 5 yard box in about 3 seconds. We would remain in truck cab while they did it. I don't think OSHA would approve that today. It was noisy and the truck would shake.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Monday, June 28, 2010 - 07:26 am:

About directions, JT - yes, the last two aerials are looking east from a vantage point above Ahmeek. North would be to the left. The blocks of homes on the left are Mohawk, and Fulton on the right.

Thanks to Neil, Paul and everyone who shares experiences that expand our perspective of the Copper Country's history.

By Danbury (Danbury) on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 07:21 am:

Good job. After the wall came down, virtually all roads in eastern Germany needed replacement, most of all the autobahns. The one I used most was the A9. It's not even finished, but guess what - needs replacement. Some parts no older than a couple of years.

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - 09:41 am:

In the late forties my sister and I would bring our dad his lunch and walk right into the stamp plant where he worked. Noisy and wet is what I remember. The boss would always come out of his office and greet us. Things were a lot easier in the days before OSHA came along. My dad lost an eye working on one of the chimneys when he was young. Now he would not have been able to work at the smelter doing the job he was assigned. Very little compensation for his injury, compared to now where he would be richly compensated.

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