Oct 20-00

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2000: October: Oct 20-00
Floating Dredge - Torch Lake    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by John Dee

By Jim Haralson, Michigan on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 09:07 am:

From the Past-E-Mail Archives:

I am from Lake Linden originally. In the summers of 55, 56, and 57 while I was attending Northern, I worked for Quincy Mining Company, the owners of the dredge which you picture. Out in the lake you can see just the tip of the roof of the second dredge which Quincy owned, it sunk during this time but I am not sure which year or month. The one here was purchased from C&H to be in service while the other (sunk) one was being repaired. I worked on the one shown beginning on the day it was put in service. It had a crew of three on the dredge, one in the pump house, which boosted the flow, and one in the screen shack. The copper bearing sands which were dumped from previous, less efficient processing, were pumped to a pond area near the reclamation plant in Mason, then re-pumped by the shore plant to the reclamation plant where the copper was extracted.

From the Pasty Cam Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 09:12 am:

Thanks to John Dee for revisiting this unique scene in the Keweenaw. We have heard that this is slated for dismantling to be used as scrap. Maybe the Pasty Cam can get permission for a closer virtual tour before it is gone.

For in-depth weather this winter, check out John Dee's Snow Central.

By E on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 08:27 pm:

Thanks, Jim,
Interesting information. I was trying to see the tip of the sunken barge in the pictures but coulldn't.

By Ed Chaput LLHHS '55 on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 10:08 pm:

Thanks Jim, we all have fond memories of our days growing up on Torch Lake.


Here is an article I had published on my days aboard the EDMUND FITZGERALD in 1958 after I left the little town of Hubbell.

By Nancy, WI on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 10:34 pm:

Is there enough scrap in that old dredge to make it worthwhile to destroy it for those of us who remember it working away in the lake?? Probably not. The smelter has been reduced to a very few stone walls--let some history stay there until it and those of us who remember it are gone!

By kkoski-SE Mi on Friday, October 20, 2000 - 11:42 pm:

I enjoyed your pictures and reading the memories of Quincy Mine. My great grandfather and some great uncles worked in the mine for many years.
I agree with Nancy- let it stay!

By susan on Saturday, October 21, 2000 - 01:17 am:

Right - what is it hurting to leave it there. It really has become sort of a 'land mark' for many of us. Why waste the money to dismantle it?

By Walt, Lake Linden, MI on Sunday, October 22, 2000 - 09:38 am:

I wonder how many people have visited the dredge over the years as it has deteriorated there on the shoreline? It seems like every time I've passed by there, especially on the weekends, there is a car or two parked there. Yesterday, I saw several people sitting on the arm extending from the front.
I thought the museum in Lake Linden had talked about trying to salvage the dredge, to bring it to the area of the museum in Lake Linden.
I used to fish for perch from the wooden dock to the north of the dredge. Now the dock is mostly gone. Looks like much of the dredge is gone too--I suppose it is that extreme southern wind that has removed the steel from the side and roof?
Anyone remember the pontoon bridge that extended out to the dredge when the dredge was working?

By Jim Haralson MI on Tuesday, October 24, 2000 - 08:51 pm:

I realize this is a week late and may not make it to the attention of Walt, but the pontoon bridge was the line which brought electrical power from the shore to the dredge, 3 copper cables about 3 inches in diameter, and also carried the pipe, about 24 inches in diameter, which transported the sand and water to the mill. There was a ramp of boards which was the walkway for the dredge crew going to and coming from work. It became a very interesting and snake like when you choked up the pick-up end of the dredge pipe, either from a cave in under water or from lowering too close to the bottom to increase the amount of sand pumped. Various other items, fish, sticks, weeds and so on were also moved from the lake to the screens below ths shore plant pond. Leaks would spring from time to time in the pipe and were patched with thick rubber pads held on by steel clamps, if you didn't catch the leak right when it started, it soon expanded due to the sand acting as an abrasive on the hole. I wrote in '98 about the dredge also.

By Matt, MTU '85 on Monday, October 30, 2000 - 03:12 pm:


I find it interesting to read about people visiting the dredge and sitting/climbing on it. I have an interesting story to tell.....

It was April of 1983 and I was an MTU sophomore. I was out with a group of dorm buddies and my girlfriend (now my wife) from downstate, and we were out on a Saturday outing, a little CCCing. We decided to stop and climb on the dredge.

After we had been climbing on it for a short time, we were approached from the highway by a Houghton County Sheriff's deputy, who informed us we were trespassing, and we all had to accompany him to his car, where he called the Quincy Mining Co. office to see if they wished to press charges. I suppose since they had little else to do, they did.

We were all (7 of us) issued citations for trespassing. Our names were in the local paper (Mining Gazette) and we even got mention on a local radio news broadcast. (We were right up there with the 24 lbs. of footlong hotdogs stolen from the Ripley A&W!!) We enlisted the free legal service offered by the university for the students, and were promptly informed the attorney that the only thing he hated worse than the university was the mining company. Comforting!

We informed him that the property was not posted "No Trespassing" or "Private". When he told the company attorney this, he agreed that if it were true, the charges should be dropped. Of course, on contacting the company, he was told that it was posted. So then another delay while the court sends a photographer out to the site. When we returned to the courthouse some days later, it was confirmed that the property was not posted. But the story doesn't end here....

The charges were, of course, dropped, but they requested that we go out and paint "No Trespassing" signs on the property. For whatever reason, we agreed to do this. (Things had dragged on for several weeks at this point.) I, however, asked for written authorization to be doing this, which was in turn given by the company's attorney.

While we were there painting, we were interrupted again, this time by the Michigan State Police. We explained this whole story to him, and I even offered to show him the letter in my back pocket authorizing us to do this. This was his response:

"No, I believe you. I drive by here and see people climbing on this all the time. I stopped because I saw you guys w/ spray paint and I thought you were vandalizing."

Now that's cooperation between state and local law enforcement!


By Richard D Karl on Thursday, July 5, 2001 - 05:16 pm:

For God's sake, don't let them dismantle this!!!

This is HISTORY! The Copper Country is losing its' soul with every dredge, Headframe and building that falls or even worse, is intentionally TORN down. Imagine my surprise when I returned to my home of many years and found the Copper City headframe gone!

Please leave these priceless reminders of what the Copper Country is and used to be....

By Niki Belkowski, Lake Linden, MI on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 12:40 pm:

This piece of industrial garbage is NOT history. All it celebrates is the environmentally disastrous policies of the mining companies that came to this once pristine area, stripped it of its resources and left without cleaning up their toxic mess. As interesting as the dredge is to look at, it only serves as a reminder of these "dark days". I, for one, find little to celebrate from this era. Even the people that made their livings in the mines did so under great physical duress and financial hardship. The mining companies took full and total advantage of their workers and this environment. This is why the entire area is an EPA SUPERFUND SITE!!! It is absolutely and completely contaminated. Even the fish from this lake have odd tumors and growths on them, not to mention the unusually high incidence of leukemia in the Lake Linden/Torch Lake area. The dredge should have been removed long ago! Perhaps then we can initiate the healing efforts this area so desperately needs!

By Toivo from Toivola on Wednesday, October 31, 2001 - 02:40 pm:

Sure makes for some interesting conversation though, doesn't it?

By Joe Dase Mining Engineering Student, Houghton MI on Sunday, October 27, 2002 - 06:44 pm:

I think that people ... should actually read the findings of the EPA before complaining about it being an environmental disaster, the dredge is a peice of copper mining history, and that history could do without ... crying wolf in order to try and stop the preservation of the area's history

By Anonymous on Monday, September 6, 2004 - 11:21 pm:

The dredge is surely a landmark to the Keewenaw. All of the abandoned and forgotten buildings of the mining industry are all landmarks here. The dredge is a great tourist attraction and quite astonishing to see. It helps people really appreciate the technology and history of the mining industry here. I say, let it remain and let it be open to the public for all generations to remember

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