Sep 28-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: September: Sep 28-02
Smokestack at Freda    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Nancy Nelson
Hillside ruins    ...scroll down to share comments
Photos by Nancy Nelson

Charlie at Pasty Central on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 07:28 am:

Thursday's Cam Notes sparked a discussion about the old mill ruins at Freda, though they could not be seen in that day's photo (which, by the way, became this week's WOW. Congratulations to Peggy Riemer.) Nancy Nelson just happened to have a couple of shots of the site, and she included this note:

Don't know if you have ever published any pictures of the remains of the Freda mill for those former yoopers who never made it out there--if not, here are a couple I took... I probably shouldn't tell anyone this, but I remember that mill when it was running. That huge smokestack is kind of a haunting reminder of all the activity that went on there.
Then shortly after Nancy's note, Peggy sent this view also, from a slightly different angle, and different day (compare the sky):
Big chimney

Jeff Laitila, Japan on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 08:40 am:


Anyone know how tall that old smoke stack is?


By Beverly, Mississippi on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 08:58 am:

Pardon my ignorance, but what actually went on at that mill? I enjoyed the pictures. It seems that nature takes advantage of what man abandons.

By Doug Smith, Wixom MI on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 09:39 am:

Anyone have any old photographs of the stamping mill (atleast I think it was a stamping mill) that was located in Lac LaBelle / Bete Gris? I've always wondered what it would have looked like.

By YooperFinn MI on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 10:15 am:

Those are the remains of the Copper Range Mining Company's stamp mill, the Champion Mill in Freda. The Champion Mill housed 6 stamps which ground the copper free from the rock. The Copper Range Co. also operated the Beacon Hill and Redridge mills. Going to Freda now, one would hardly believe just how active and largely populated those lakeside communities once were. I read that by 1907, the total milling capacity for the Copper Range Co. was 10,000 tons daily!

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 11:42 am:


Here's a shot which first appeared on the Pasty Cam April 20, 2001. As always, you can go back in the archives and join the discussion:

Old Mill

Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 11:57 am:

WOW! Thought that was the Gay Smokestack for a split second! Where do you guys get all these old and wonderful pictures! I never cease to be amazed when I come here!

Alex Tiensivu

By PSmith SC on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 12:19 pm:

I really enjoy my daily visits to Pasty Cam. Keep up the good work. Looking forward to the fall colors.
Is the restaurant still operating in a former office building in Freda? We enjoyed dining there. That is a beautiful drive through the tunnel of hardwoods from Houghton to Freda, especially in the fall.

By I'd better not tell - we're parents now! on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 12:42 pm:

Yeah, hard to believe what bustling communities there were in the Copper Country. In fact, it was so quiet and deserted one hot summer day many years ago that it was a great place for a skinny dip!

By Paul in Illinois on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 12:49 pm:

Yooperfinn covered the basics of mill operations. The Champion Mill at Freda was the only one in the Copper Country to use something other than steam stamps to break native copper rock. They converted it to electric powered impact crushers which were more economical as far as fuel was concerned. Copper Range had very extensive and expensive coal handling facilities during the age of steam. Coal was unloaded at Houghton and then hauled to both the mines and the mills. C&H, Quincy and others had mills on Torch Lake or Portage Lake which were adjacent to their coal docks,they only had to haul coal to the mines, so empty rockcars could be used for the coal. Copper Range with mills on the big lake, had to route cars to Houghton which was one more stop than the competitors. For a more in depth study of Copper Range, click on Kevin Musser's Copper Range on this home page, it's a great site.
Monette's Lac La Belle book has several good pictures of the Lac La Belle mill.
Nice pic's this week - as usual.

By Gary, Colorado on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 07:37 pm:

I believe the mill operated up until 1968, which doesn't seem that long ago in my memory. Rock was hauled from the Champion Mine in Painsedale by both train and trucks. I remember going to the mouth of the Graveraut (sp?) River and having to drive right through the mill on a road as it was still in operation. I also remember meeting those trucks on the Covered Drive (also known as the aboreal tunnel) mentioned recently on this site. The road was barely a lane and a half wide at best, as it was built on an abandoned railroad grade. We had to find a wide spot to pull over to let the much larger trucks pass by. I had a Great Uncle killed in the Freda mill in the late 1920's as the result of an industrial accident, pre-OSHA days.

By Catherine Holland, MI on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 09:14 pm:

My grandparents, Uno Loukinen and Helmi Kuosa, grew up in Freda and Beacon Hill, respectively. Uno's sister (also Helmi) used to be in charge of collecting the fares from the kids riding on Copper Range to school in town. She told me once how some girls didn't pay her and the conductor was angry with her as she was short, which she found unreasonable as she had paid her own fare.

My mom told me how a disgruntled, displaced Bostoner was manager at Redridge for C&H and so he systematically dismantled the entire town to punish whoever. I am always sad to think of those miners' families evicted and having to look for work. That is why there is nothing left there except for the ruined church--I guess C&H didn't own it and so he couldn't have it demolished! I assume he was "let go."

By Doug, Wixom,MI on Saturday, September 28, 2002 - 10:01 pm:

Thanks Charlie for the link back to Lac LaBelle. I do recall seeing that writeup back then. I'll do some digging.

By Paul in Illinois on Sunday, September 29, 2002 - 12:05 am:

Catherine in Holand, MI.
C&H did not own Redridge or the Mill in Redridge. That was a Copper Range operation and the mill closed when the Baltic Mine closed in the thirties. C&H may be many things to many people, but the "Bostoner" had to be in the employ of Copper Range. The depression was a disaster throughout the Copper Country.

By Lowell La Fave Missouri on Sunday, September 29, 2002 - 12:21 am:

Does anyone know how some of these towns got their names? Such as Freda, Redridge etc.

By YooperFinn MI on Wednesday, October 2, 2002 - 12:57 pm:

The community of Freda was named after Freda Paine, a daughter of Copper Range Company president William A. Paine.

By George E. Marshall, Illinois on Tuesday, August 3, 2004 - 02:11 pm:

We attended the recent "Homecoming and Old Settler's Ball" in Houghton. Enjoyed it very much. Also met Frieda Durocher Guilbault (who is 96 this month). She was a playmate of my mother, in Freda approx. 1920. My mothers name was Julia Gunville. She was Born in Dollar Bay, Baptized at St. Francis Church, lived in Beacon Hill 1910, moved to Freda shortly after, and moved to Detroit approx. 1928. In Freda her father Antoine worked in the Champion Mill. Any information available pertaining to this would be appreciated.

By glojolo, mi. on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 - 04:28 pm:

My Mom knew Helmi Kuosa and many Durochers and a Guilbault. My Mom was born in 1905 in Beacon Hill. She was a Tikkanen. Had 2 younger sisters. She left to work in Detroit in the early 20's.

By JDO, North Carolina on Sunday, February 27, 2005 - 04:19 pm:

I was born and raised in Houghton (left in 1957), and lived in Beacon Hill in the early '40s. My father was the agent at the RR Depot. I distinctly remember going to school there. The school was right across the road from the church on the road to Freda. I can remember standing on top of the "Big Hill" watching to see if the teacher could make it up after an overnight storm. We had a lot of no-school days until Blazer's sawmill started putting a team of horses at the base to pull her car up. Have found references on the Copper Range site that Beacon Hill never had a school, so I'm looking for back-up.

By DAVE Herman The German on Saturday, July 9, 2005 - 04:51 pm:


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