Oct 28-03

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2003: October: Oct 28-03
A different Quincy Scene    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Michael Falik

Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 07:45 am:

Here's a sight that most of us have heard stories about, but very few of us have seen ourselves. Michael Falik took this one somewhere around the Quincy Mines. Maybe Michael or someone else out there in Pasty Land can give us some details, such as what mine, which shaft, and it's location.

My Grandfather talked of the conditions he worked in underground. This shot gives us a better perspective of what it must have been like going down into the mine shaft each day, leaving behind the sunshine for the darkness. I don't know about you, but I find the thought of entering that abyss a bit eerie......

Halloween countdown continues.....4 days left to dig out the mittens and hats, hopefully winter boots won't be needed!

By The Troll Family on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:51 am:

In this photo, are we looking STRAIGHT DOWN or does it angle downward?

By Kathy, MI on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 09:15 am:

How tall is this opening? I get claustrophobic just thinking about it. They were very brave men indeed !

By Barbara, FL on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 09:33 am:

This shot gives me a greater appreciation for what the miners faced day after day. Can you imagine these kind of working conditions today? We truly are blessed!

By Roger K. on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 10:00 am:

OK - I'm probably going to expose my mining ignorance. Here goes: It'd be my guess that this is what they'd refer to as a "stope"? Based on the support log shown further in, the photographer is walking on level ground, and that this is actually where the ore was removed from the ground.

By Missin the UP from NJ on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 10:09 am:

The men who worked this mine probably didn't even think of themselves as brave, but they sure had to be. They most likely thought that they were doing the best they could to support their families without realizing how BIG their contribution really was.

By Joe Dase MTU Mining Student on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 10:27 am:

If I had to guess, I would say you are looking down a shaft. In the right side of the shot you can see a plant of some kind and the lighting. I dont know which shaft but Im going to guess that its the man shaft, due to the narrow nature of it, also that is one of the shafts with a bat cage over it.

By Fran,Ga on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 11:33 am:

When my Dad came to this country he eventually landed in the Mining area up around Calumet. He said he went down into one day and said that, that wasn't for him! He didn't want to be like a Mole!! So out he came and worked out in the fresh air as much as possible from the age of 14 till at least his mid 80's. Gosh it must have been awful to work down in the mines like that.Whe n we visited the quincy mine a couple yrs ago I was really glad to get back out. So cold and dark.

By Paul Brandes on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Joe is right. You are looking down the Man Shaft at Quincy mine through the bat cage. I am one of the underground guides at the mine (a mine captian of sorts) so we get a lot of questions about this and the other shafts of the mine. One of the coolest sights that many people never get to see is that if you can get on the escape route out of Quincy towards the #2 shaft, there is a place where on a sunny day, you can see the light coming down the man shaft and onto the 7th level; really an awesome sight. All of the shafts at Quincy at the surface incline (or dip) at about 54 degrees. However, that angle actually decreases to about 30 at the bottom. The #7 is unique in that it is on a catenary curve, meaning it is completely horizontal (flat) at depth. This is one of only 2 shafts in the world that do this. Unfortunitly everything under the 7th level is flooded with water so no more exploring except from the 7th up!!!!!

By Michael Falik, MI on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 11:42 am:

Hi everyone. I'm the person who took this interesting shot.

I took this picture at the good old Quincy Mine. I like to go where the tourists don't usually go. I was walking around, with my camera and stumbled across the shaft with the "bat cage" over it. I was overwhelmed with a rush of warm air, which was great since it was a rather chilly day.

My first reaction was that I wanted my rope and harness to have a little rapelling fun, but of course the shaft was sealed. So, I let my camera have the fun.


By Mary Lou on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 02:02 pm:

My grandfather and great-grandfather worked at Quincy...not underground, they were stonemasons....my great-grandfather Johann Joseph Fretter was hired by Quincy while he was still in Germany and he arrired with his family of teenagers in 1884..he hired my grandfather Anslem Studer,who was about 21 yrs old and recently discharged from the Swiss army. Anselm's first job for Quincy was to build the powder-house at the bottom of the hill in Ripley.....it is still there...just off the the highway. He commented that the stone was much harder to work with here than the stone in Switzerland.

By The Dam Guy, Parasite Creek on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 05:56 pm:

Spent some time down in Quincy #'s 2 and 6, and
also some of the other local mines in the late 70's. If anyone should run across my hockey stick
(at the bottom of a stope off the 4th level of Quincy No. 2)I wouldn't mind getting it back...

By Roger, KS on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 06:23 pm:

I remember my 1st trip underground shortly after being hired by C&H. I was being given a tour by the Director of Mining. I think it was Centennial No. 2. We got to the shaft house where the "stair step" man car was waiting (shaft was at about 36 degrees). We all had our mine hats with lights on. About 30 of us. We started down the shaft which was pretty much dark except for our mine hat lights. As we approached the working levels (they were lighted) about level 40, the hoist operator(who was up on surface) stopped the mancar for us to get off. The steel cable holding the mancar stretched about 3 or 4 inches and bounced the mancar once or twice (that was a thrill and a half). As I recall , the cable was 1 1/4" in diam. I never heard of any of the mines loosing a mancar.

By Donna on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 07:15 pm:

Speaking of mines and Halloween....I remember a while back, hitting the Delaware Mine on Halloween night. They had it "done up", had skeletons shaking chains in there, spooky ghouls, etc...don't know if they still do that or not, but if they do...it's sure worth a trip!

By Paul in Illinois on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:01 pm:

The Central Mine lost a cage full of men in the 1880's I believe. This was in a verticle shaft so they went staight down. If I recall correctly, 8 or 9 were killed in the fall.
There are stories about playful hoistmen releasing the brakes at the start down if they knew there were new guys on board. This is said to have occured at C&H's older shafts on the conglomerate where there were only single skipways. The drums were controlled by a clutch type connection to the engine to go up and brakes to contol the rate of speed going down. Releasing the brakes completely instead of easing them off would produce a very disconcerting freefall effect.
The balenced system used at Centennia1 #2 and the other modern shafts really wouldn't allow that prank. The hoist was direct connected to the steam cylinders which would require both releasing the brakes and opening the throttle rapidly to produce the freefall effect. Just releasing the brakes would have an even more dangerous result of the weight of the skip and cable down in the shaft pulling the mancar UP into the top of the shafthouse. In more modern times there were always two hoistmen on the platform when men were being hoisted.
We always tried to visit a mine in the afternoon so we would be there at shift change. The ritual of changing out the skip for a mancar was fascinating. That heavy cable had a mind of its own once it was disconnected, and the hoistman would have to "rock" empty mancar up and down several times to get the slack out that formed between the pulley stands. This was because the cable would droop when the weight of the skip was taken off. Ahmeek 3&4 used a cage type car with several comparments, the lander and the hoistman were able to spot each compartment at the edge of the collar for the guys to get off.

By K on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:08 pm:

Off on another recent local hot topic...
What does everyone think about the State Of Michigan taking over the snow plowing duties in Houghton County ???
The Daily Mining Gazette has a poll on it's site, but it's apparently skewed...Probably by a disgruntled county road engineer or employee with hi-speed internet access.
I say, to heck with Houghton County and bravo to the State. Houghton County would whine all the time they need more $$$$....
Finally the state called there bluff and said to heck with ya !!! we'll do it ourselves.
I think the State can do a much better, safer more efficient job.
Point to observe-Ever notice how well the roads are maintained, winter and summer in Baraga County (Which the State has done for many years) vs the roads in Houghton County ?

By Uncle Bud/old Mohawk Guy on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:16 pm:

Sounds like someone is being snowed.

By k on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:21 pm:

To Paul in Illinois...
You're amazing with all your posts on the mining history of the area.
You really should write a book.
Just curious, how about some background of your life. I think that would be just as interesting as some of your posts !!!
Keep up the great work. I always enjoy reading your posts.

By Catherine--HollandMI on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 08:51 pm:

How many flooded levels are there below #7?

By ywb/yooperwannabe/richmond on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 09:14 pm:

I agree with K. I also enjoy reading Paul's posts. He has such knowledge on the area. So Paul, what is your story? You should write a book.

By RCW $ BAY on Tuesday, October 28, 2003 - 10:11 pm:

K Did you ever realize the difference in the amount of snow between the 2 counties , I say hats off to the guys at the Houghton County Road Comm. they do a marvelous job.

By JO ANN HANCOCK on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:29 am:

I agree with RCW $BAY.....with the amount of snow get we have no reason to complain about the road conditions.....of course I'd rather have snow then forest fires or floods.

By Chuck in Illinois on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 06:42 am:

That is the view, looking down the "man shaft" which accomodated the man-engine, next to shaft #3 at the Quincy Mine. It was used from around 1868 to 1892, after which the men began riding the man cars down the regular skip roads. The man-engine consisted of two long parallel wooden beams running down the shaft with platforms spaced about 10 ft. apart. The beams rocked back and forth in a see-saw fashion and the men could step side-to-side from one platform to the other and ascend or descend the shaft. For a better understanding of the man-engine, visit the Quincy Mine and play with the working model that they have at the Hoist house.

By Mike, MI on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 07:00 am:

Comon yuse guys,

Lets see the lights, down here near Detroit we hear that the nothern suburbs are seeing a good show. Has anyone captured a good shot yet?

By Marc, Painesdale on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 10:56 am:

I believe there are 98 levels in the Quincy, so 91 are under water...

By Phil, Manton, MI on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 12:55 pm:

I also agree with RCW $BAY.
In comparison with roads in Houghton County and roads down state, I would much rather have Houghton County on the job. I've experienced both.

By Paul, Calumet MI on Wednesday, October 29, 2003 - 06:44 pm:

The Quincy mine has 92 levels; it's #2 and #6 shafts both go down to this level, which is 9260 feet on the incline and about 6600 feet vertical. Only the top 7 levels are not flooded, the other 85 are. The only thing that keeps the upper levels clear is the East Adit which we take the tours through. If that were to collapse or become plugged, the mine would fill with water to the top. Oh and by the way Chuck, one should not "play" with the model, otherwise I may have to fix it. One would be better to play with the trains, ha ha.

By Liz Clawson, Ohio on Monday, November 3, 2003 - 09:42 pm:

Thanks for bringing back my summer memories. I worked in the QM as a tour guide for several years and thoroughly enjoyed it. I miss the chance to learn and share with people every day about the local history. What a life those miners lived! I was always glad that I could warm up every 45 minutes and see the sunshine. (P.S. Hey, Paul, good to hear you still know your stuff!! I've been filling my mind with marketing and business info. lately.)

By BEN. WIS. on Thursday, November 6, 2003 - 08:11 pm:

i think that big nordberg hoist held a max. of about 15000 ft. of steel cable , does that sound reasonable?//

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