Mar 24-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: March: Mar 24-02
Memories of coal home-heating    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos from the Rudy Bylkas collection

Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 06:35 am:

The pages aren't quite the yellow they used to be... And the phone numbers sure look funny (like Laurium-242 and Calumet-1169-J1). Browsing a phone book from last century is a good way to do some time-travelling on this cold and snowy weekend here in the Copper Country.

Last night we came across this ad from "Portage Coal & Dock Co." Wonder if any Pasty Cam visitors remember stoking the old furnace in the basement?

Here's a shoebox memory trivia question: what year did this yellow page ad appear? Later this week we'll have the answer.

By the way, the phone numbers I mentioned above were the actual numbers of 2 organizations which are now hosted under the Pasty Central/PastyNET service grant program. They are: Village of Laurium (Laurium-242) and Gitche Gumee Bible Camp (Calumet-1169-J1). Maybe later in the week we can list some other websites, whose numbers appeared in the 19?? phonebook.

Willie Water

By BWS, Traverse City, MI on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 07:19 am:

Charlie, Since I arrived on this earth in the year 1953, and you just celebrated your 50th birthday, I'll guess that these ads appeared around 1952 or 1953, although the "Calumt 1963-R" on the Northern Michigan Water Company ad could really tell the tale. HAPPY SUNDAY to all! BWS from TVC.

By Kevin E. Musser on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 08:18 am:

Just recently received a few photos from Robert Wetton of Portage Coal & Dock in Hancock (Ripley). Here is a nice view of it, along with it you can make out the DSS&A yard in Houghton across the canal. You can view it at along with hundreds of other vintage Copper Country Photos at Thanks Charlie and keep those memories coming.

By Anita, Hancock, MI on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 08:50 am:

Since I was born in 1954 I am going to guess that is the year of the phone book. This is such a perfect site for a cup of coffee and pure relaxation :) Keep up the good work.

By Dave H, CO on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:28 am:

A big hey, and thankx, from Colorado! Been here 21yrs, and still consider myself a transplanted Yooper. Found this site last year, and revisit it now and again to "touch the good earth". There is really nowhere like home, right? Born & raised in Hancock (class of 66). Just saying Hi.

By Ron Kentala, Lincoln Park, Mich. on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:38 am:

A big "Hey yooz guys" from a transplanted Yooper. Moved to the big city in 1966 when the copper mines were on strike. I was 12 years old. These yellow pages have to be from the late 40's or early 50's. Houghton already had dial service in the early 60's, but Calumet still had operators. I remember picking up the phone to hear the operator say "Number Please"!! We lived in Fulton and our old phone number was 40-J. Keep up the good work. I really enjoy this site.

By Toivo from Toivola on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:48 am:

What about this years phone book??!! The Pasty People are right on the front cover!

Call Today!
Imagine 40 or 50 years from now when people ask "What was the INTERNET"??
By G. Cronenworth/Walworth,NY on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:54 am:

Rennie's Fuels located on the 41 curve( at the old road) in that old quanset hut style building just before Ahmeek was the main coal supplier for the Keweenaw County area.Us poor familes couldn't afford coal (and the real rich had mechanical stokers) so we either got slab wood from Aldrich's Sawmill( Fulton) or got a permit from C&H to cut windfall trees from the Bush.
Old Mohawk Guy

By Ray GR Mich on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 10:04 am:

Hi Charlie. Sure enjoy these old pictures. Hardly ever miss a day. Thanks and keep em comming.
If memory serves me right, (which it doesn't always do) the design on the vehicle came out in the late 30's and assuming they would have used a new vehicle for the picture, I would guess (WOW) about 1938. So much for that.
Very definitely remember the coal furnace in the basement with the coal in the winter time being delivered by 2 men, 2 horses, and a looong sled type box. They would put metal shutes over the snowbank from the edge of the box into the window in the basement. Don't miss that part of it a bit.
Really enjoy your efforts with the pasty cam.

By Ernie WA on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 10:31 am:

I grew up on a dairy farm near Jacobsville in the 50's and since the power lines didn't come to our place we had our own electric generating system and no phone service. About "57" or so, sold the cattle and moved to town for the winters. First winter was spent in Calumet and then in Lake Linden for a quite a few years, my high school years. So I don't remember the 3 digit numbers but I do remember the 4 digit numbers with an operator. Then came the 9 digits with the operator, then not long it became autimated. I remember going into a building just up from Lindels when Lake Linden got the automatic switch board. A couple of years ago I bought a 1959 "T"bird rag top and the garage that car came from in Los Angeles had a number of AX4-7111. How things change.

By GB on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 10:37 am:

This brings alot of memories. I worked there from 1951 to 1957 and that was the phone number in Calumet. WOW a long time ago.

By Ernie WA on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 10:44 am:

I remember the coal truck coming to our house in Lake Linden and coal sliding down the chute into the basement. Also during my high school years I would take care of filling the stoker with coal every couple of days at our school superintendents house Mr. George Graham.

By Roy - Tenn. on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 12:06 pm:

The coal company was pretty fancy. They obviously had a private line with just three numbers. Normal people had three numbers followed by an alpha which meant they were on a party line. Ours was 898J and later when made into a private line 898.
My father owned an apartment building in Calumet and it had a coal fired steam boiler (hopper fed) and we would get 36 tons of stoker coal each year. That is one real big pile of coal.
I was born and raised in Calumet and this site brings back a number of good old memories each day. Thanks.

By Mike, White Lake, MI. on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 01:49 pm:

My late father was born in Ripley, he learned to swim off the Portage Coal Dock. He's been gone for a while now but the stories he told brought back some good memories just seeing the ad for the Portage Coal Dock.

By JJ_GREENVILLE,MI on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 02:26 pm:

memories of mid 1940's with dad loading coal into a holland coal furnace. our coal bins had hard coal,soft coal types. snow in yards were always speckled with tiny black particles from chimney soot. one of a kind odor of burning coal flowing thru out neighborhood. ashes were often spread in driveway for traction in winter. thanks for the topics for our own recalls into the earlier times of our individual experiences. GOD BLESS.

By Catherine Holland, MI on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 02:33 pm:

"A Holland Furnace is a Warm Friend." You can still see that logo around, especially at the Warm Friend Rest Home, the old hotel(?) originally owned by the furnace company.

By Tom Terrific on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 03:52 pm:

Judging by the Willie Water design alone, I'm guessing late 1950's or early 1960's. With his narrow, dainty--dare I say "feminine"--pair of legs, I don't want to say Willie was modeled specifically on Mighty Mouse, but his picture does look like a lot of the cartoon artwork from that time period.

By Nancy Nelson, WI on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:18 pm:

Oh, yes. We ,too, had the coal truck filling our basement on Blanche Street in Houghton. Not only remember filling the stoker with coal, but also taking the "klinkers" out of the furnace-this was fun because they were so glowing and warm. The coal stoker was also the place for us to get our spankings for numerous transgressions because it was very near our father's workbench, and he could conveniently test a few "switches" from the woodpile.

By Mark is missing Calumet on Sunday, March 24, 2002 - 09:52 pm:

I am way to young to remember any of this. I grew up with Dial-o-Heat. Just turn the thermostat to whatever you wanted and you had heat. What a life. Anyway, the ad for the water company has to be from 1959 or later. 1959 is as early as it can be. I thought I saw an ad for them in the 100 year Centenial book for Calumet. It said how was "Calumet and Hecla Water Co. 1888-1959, and then Northern Michigan Water 1959-1975. So my answer is 1959. Thanks.

By Ken from da UP on Monday, March 25, 2002 - 10:30 pm:

I remember Mr. George Graham from the LLHS. Standing on tip-toe, rocking back and forth while he made his announcements in study hall. :o) He even signed our class pictures. Must've been around '51 or '52. My Mom used to get our coal for the furnace from Mr. DeLisle in Lake Linden.

By Bill Jacka Sr. on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 - 06:59 am:

I would guess the number was about 1946. The T.M.Jacka insurance Agency in Laurium was 397 and my grandmaothers telephone number in Calumet was 622M a party line. All the best - memories thats for sure.

By susan hooker - returned yooper!! on Wednesday, March 27, 2002 - 05:39 am:

Nancy forgot to tell about the time we locked ourselves out of the house on a sunday and we had to stick our brother thru the coal-shute to get in. I sure wish I had a picture of what he looked like after crawling through the coal! Also, the furnace was where we burned all our trash in the winter - beats the buck a bag we pay for trash these days.

By patron, Vancouver WA on Friday, March 29, 2002 - 02:40 pm:

Charlie, my guess for the year of the ad would be 1956.

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Friday, March 29, 2002 - 09:24 pm:

On Friday, Kathleen from San Diego named it correctly as 1960.

Phone Book

John B. from PA on Friday, October 25, 2002 - 11:00 pm:

I'm from the hard coal regions of Schuylkill Ct. in northeast PA and came upon your site. Hoping to find a 1940s Wagner stoker drive,( the reducer that has the stroke arm on it). The worm gear is damaged and my spare drive works, but for how long is anybodies guess.
If any of you know of someone who could help, I would gladly reward the kindness of this person.In my area the parts are so scarce that the plumbers won't sell them even when they have them. I haven't tried eBay yet, but have tried the Google search for hours without sucess.Thanks!

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