Dec 01-02

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2002: December: Dec 01-02
1890's Snow Removal    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the MTU Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 10:32 am:

One of the gift items available this year to include with your holiday pasty order is the great new book by Dave Engel and Gerry Mantel "Calumet: Copper Country Metropolis". It reports on the boom years in the Copper Country, as seen through the eyes of newspaper reports and Pasty Camists of the 1890's through 1910's. Today's Shoebox Memory comes from the book, and is credited to the MTU Archives, a wonderful resource of the region's history.

By Candy, NOT missing the snow in Ca on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 10:49 am:

Charlie, does the book say where this wonderful shot was taken??

By Helen Upper Michigan on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 11:01 am:

WOW What a way to remove snow!! It looks like they sure had it then!! It looks just totally awesome!

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 11:06 am:

In the book the footnote says "Plowing track near Calumet...". It appears to me that the houses up on the hill are at Swedetown.

Swedetown today

By Peggy Riemer, Wis. on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 11:36 am:

Photo from right in your back yard from a foggy day this past fall.

Train plow

Alex Tiensivu, Georgia on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 01:26 pm:

WHO STOLE THE BRIDGE? Is there something wrong with the camera, or is it REALLY that foggy at 1:25 PM? WOW!


By Me again... on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 01:27 pm:

... Or is that snow? WOW! (Again).

By WhiskeyCreek on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 03:37 pm:


Nowcast as of 3:06 PM EST on December 1, 2002
lake effect snow warning in effect... between 3 and 6 PM EST...lake effect snow showers will deposit another inch or two of new snow. The greatest amounts will fall over the high terrain from Toivola to Calumet and Delaware.

By Grant Pearce, MI on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 05:11 pm:

I was born in Lake Linden and went to Lake Linden Hubble High. Came down to Grand Rapids to get away from that kind of snow. But in a way I miss it. I used to watch the steam plows on the tracks just in back of our home in LL.
This is a great web site. Keep up the good job.
Thanks for the memories!

By Henry, St. Clair Shores, MI on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 06:16 pm:

I've lived almost my whole life in the Detroit area, and I thought I had a good idea what winter was all about. However, me and two friends drove up and stayed in Copper Harbor for a few days in February 2001 and I have a new outlook on what winter really can be. Sure, I had seen the photos of winter my brother had brought back from his Michigan Tech days, but the Keeweenah winters are one of those items that a photograph doesn't do justice to. For those of you who have never experienced a U.P. winter, take 3 or 4 days in January or February and experience Mother Nature at her finest.

By Paul in Illinois on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 07:45 pm:

It looks like the Swedetown area. The locomotive is a Mineral Range or Hancock & Calumet (both were under the same management)engine during the narrow gauge era. Great shot! Isler was quite fond of photographing the small engines in the big snow. In this case the photographer was just seconds away from getting covered with the white stuff coming off the plow. The plow was called a wedge plow and was bolted directly to the pilot beam of the locomotive. The technique was called bucking, the locomotive was backed off a ways and then rammed into the snow and kept going until it stalled. Then they would back out and do it all over again. The crews asigned to these tasks were choosen for their experience and finesse, it was easy to derail the locomotive if one wasn't careful. It didn't hurt if they were alittle bit daring too! The whole process would make a present day OHSA inspector go off the deep end!

By Darrell Oinas, DeWITT MICHIGAN on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 08:04 pm:

The ones I remember had side wings and a rotary blade up front to chew and through the snow aside, but this was during the late 60's and apparently no one cares about mining and the strike and shutdown of the mines at that time, havent seen anything in publication about that era. Like all bad things sweep it under the rug and dont bring it up again. Only talk about the good boom years.

By HN of DeWitt on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 08:58 pm:

Darrell Oinas, where abouts in DeWitt are you? We are on Clark Road and have been here since 1975. Yoopers from wayback. Maybe yours is one of the vehicles we see around town with the UP plate on the front.

By Paul in Illinois on Sunday, December 1, 2002 - 11:35 pm:

Darrell is right, the last couple of years of C&H/UOP operations and the series of strikes aren't mentioned - much. When those times are brought up, the opinions and emotions are as strong as they are/were over the 1913 strike. We see it surface once in a while on this site.

One big what-if during those times was C&H's proposed Hills Creek Project. This would have sunk one to three shafts on an extension of the Calumet Conglomerate to the northeast of the original mine. The projected production would have been a several fold increase of what they had been doing in the '50's and '60's. One can only speculate on the effect that might have had on the Copper Country.

By Lowell Mo. on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 04:20 am:

I can remember the plows on the C&NW doing that. Can also rember the rotary plow removeing the snow on the road so that we could get home.
Many Many years ago.

By darrell oinas/dewitt mi on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 07:52 am:

To NH. of Dewitt, I live off of herbison RD. I also have seen the truck that you mentioned out and about, but it is not mine, But when I head home for a vacation this spring there will be one on the fornt of my pickup also. Glad to know I am not the only Yoopeer around here.!

By darrell oinas/dewitt mi on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 07:54 am:

Should be to HN of Dewitt

By u on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 09:22 am:

all that snow reminds of all the sledding and tobogganing on the rock piles.and skating in fulton.and sledding on the hill going on the road to senaca.wish i lived there yet

By Naomi ,East Lansing MI on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 11:58 am:

Darrell, I am not far from Dewitt here in East Lansing, But I grew up in Calumet Laurium!
So nice to see that there are more YOOPERS around this way : )

By Phil, Manton, MI on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 01:14 pm:

Hey! Does anyone remember the ski tow behind Calumet? I think it was at Tamarack Hill. I wore out many pairs of gloves hanging on the that rope trying to get back up the hill with a toboggan. Everyone there sure had a blast all winter long. What a mix, there was Skiing, tobaggoning, and anything else that would slide down the hill.

By froggy on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 02:59 pm:

I always enjoy the old pictures. Notice the lack of trees in the old locomotive photo. Regarding the old strikes, was the closing of C&H a surpise in '68 and was it a direct result of the strike? Anyone know?

By Stan on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 04:57 pm:

Hey, Yoopers!
I just another one from the Copper Country, living in Holt. I lived my boyhood years in Hancock and Laurium, but my family moved down to the Detroit area when I was 12. I still manage to get to the the Copper Country almost every year for family gatherings. Though most of my life has been down-state, I still consider the Copper Country home. Lots of good memories--even the hard winters.

By Liz Benson, Idaho on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 06:07 pm:

To Phil,Manton Mi. We always went tobboganing on Tamerack Hill! Seems we were there most every Sat
afternoon. Its all grown in now. The shack with the coal stove and the fellow who mended the tow ropes are memories, too. It was interesting watching him weave the ropes back to chopper mitt strength for hauling us and our unique sliding material back to the top.

By Bob in Green Bay on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 06:11 pm:

To Froggy

The closing of The mines in 1968 was not a suprise. Universal Oil,(they bought out C&H shortly before)gave the union an exact period of time to settle the strike or they would flood the mines. The union did not settle, and the mines were flooded. End of story, end of a way of life for over 200 years. Very sad.

By HN of DeWitt on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 06:15 pm:

D. Oinas: If that vehicle you've seen around town with the UP license plate is a reddish Silverauto with a topper that's us. Wave. But I've seen other ones. Know where you live now. My daughter lived in those apartments at one time. I looked in the phone book. Nice to see other Copper Country people around too. I grew up in Trap Rock and Hubby in Kearsarge. A couple of Copper Country Finns.

By Melissa, Grand Ledge, MI on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 08:00 pm:

Hey all you Lansing area yoopers! I'm in Grand Ledge, although will be moving to Lansing-Waverly area shortly. I didn't grow up in the Copper Country, but I do have roots--my great-great grandfather was a miner in the early 1900s at the Mohawk mine. I did live up there for a little over 3 years while getting my masters at MTU, miss it up there every single day, and will definitely retire there if I don't get the chance to move back before then.

By Darrell Oinas, DeWITT MICHIGAN on Monday, December 2, 2002 - 09:26 pm:

Well we are all yoopers located down in trollvile for now, why dont we set up a date at a local resteraunt and meet, my schedule is open and if you are interisted please e-mail me and we will all get togeather and get to know each other, let's bring a little bit of home to trollvile, as we all have a common bond "The greatest place on earth to live and come from" If you are interisted let me know and I will set it UP.

By Becky,Lansing/Tamarack City on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 10:05 am:

Just got back last night, boy did we get some snow!but not the kind of cold thats down here. The miners must have had some pretty big issues to decide to loose everything and see the mines flooded. The tree thing still amazes me-someone sent me pics of the Hancock Hill w/out trees when I brought that up-hard to believe everything was picked clean. If you guys down here decide to get together, contact me-thanks. By the way. Last week I picked up the new calander at Stillwaters (and the mug) and it's really beautiful!!!!!!

By froggy on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 12:44 pm:

Thanks Bob from Green Bay. Sad end to an era. But I guess all these historic events contributed to make the Copper Country what it is today. We still love it and its people.

By Phil, Manton, MI on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 12:55 pm:

To Liz Benson, Idaho. Thanks for adding to my memories, that warming shack was real handy to have there. I wonder who funded that operation? I didn't get to enjoy it as much as most because my family moved back to Lake Linden when I was still quite young. I would imagine you still see a reasonable amount of snow in Idaho.

By Pat, Arizona on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 08:38 pm:

Are there any Iron Mountain folks on this channel?
If so, would like to hear from you. I live in Arizona now. I don't miss the snow but i do enjoy sharing news with you.

By R.J St.Paul, MN. on Tuesday, December 3, 2002 - 10:33 pm:

To Phil & Liz I believe that the ski tow at Tamarack Hill was put up by civic minded locals. There was a lot of that sort of thing in that era. I also remember taking a tobogggan up the tow rope. It was the only place you could use the tow rope to get back to the top of the hill. Prior to the ski tow Maple Grove Hill was the place to ski. I will try to jog another memory. How about watching free movies projected on the wall of the Sinclair station across from the monument works?

By Phil, Manton on Wednesday, December 4, 2002 - 01:05 pm:

To R.J. St. Paul,MN. I just can't recall the movies on the wall of the Sinclair station, what a cool off the wall idea. That might be because I lived mostly in Lake Linden.

To Pat, Arizona. I'm not from Iron Mountain but passed through there and also Kingsford and Norway many times, always thought it was a nice area. Thought there used to be a big ski hill there.

By Mary Lou Curtin on Thursday, December 5, 2002 - 10:24 am:

Greetings from Escanaba: UOP did not want to close the company in '68 but the union would not accept the wage offered and the equipment was very old. I remember a social conversation beytween my husband, Gary Curtin, and Tony Baudek, an official of UOP. It was a sad time. My family Studer-Boudreau and Gary's family the Curtin-Hulkonens all worked for the C&H. They all came in the late 1800s. My family came from Switzerland, Germany and Canada and Gary's came from Cornwall England, Canada and Finland.....what a wonderful mix of cultures settled in the area. We love it, it's people and it's history. MLC LLHS class of '50/GC LLHS class of '49 (deceased)

By Paul in Illinois on Thursday, December 5, 2002 - 08:05 pm:

Two sides heard from. Apparently the final showdown was over the rate of pay for reopening the mines. Someone like Dr. Thurner needs to research and tell the story in an even-handed manner like he did in REBELS ON THE RANGE. The equipment on the railroad and at the mill and smelter was old. The mines that were still operating (the Osceola shafts, Centennial 6, and Kingston)all had relatively new surface plants built in the '50' and '60's. The Kearsarge Lode mines were done or about to be closed by that time. Had C&H or UOP proceeded with the Hills Creek project, they would have had to invest considerable capital. Even if Hills Creek would have been developed, you have to wonder if such a high cost operation would have been viable in the volitile copper market of the past 30 years. One irony of the situation is that it has been claimed that both C&H and Copper Range kept the native copper mines open in order to maintain a cadre of experienced miners. For Copper Range it worked with their White Pine mine. For C&H it was close, but no cigar.

By Bob Brown, Alabama on Sunday, December 15, 2002 - 02:05 am:

The C&H mining close was not a big surprise. I was working in Alabama(3rd generation C & H employee) at the Magnesium plant owned by C & H. (A.E. Petermann was President of Alabama Metallurgical when I joined the company) When UOP came in it was an entirely new management. Not many ties to the Copper Country, nor had there been since the leaders from Wolverine Tube moved in to the top management positions in C & H. UOP looked to the future. They closed the magnesium plant and sold the remaining Alabama operations to a Western company. In Calumet,it seemed that they had made a wage offer that was rejected by the union. I had interviewed with C & H about a possible job in the smelter in Lake Linden in the summer of 1968. The C& H management at that time was planning to continue the operations. I think that many CC residents in all walks of life felt and may feel to this day, that there was /are still millions of dollars worth of copper in the properties and that the wage offer was too small. The UOP people would not pay the electricity costs to keep the mines dewatered when there was no cash flow. So they shut the pumps off. It was strictly a money decision as was closing the magnesium plant in Alabama. In either case, my employment with C & H ended abruptly.

By tony-mich on Monday, December 16, 2002 - 10:18 pm:

i worked 1956 -1968 c&h--iroquios--senica---kingston--3&6centenial--oseola--I still have my supoena to go court for picketing---best thing that ever happened--its closing--dangerous and low pay--i think sinking shaft company count was 2.41 cents an hr--pension was 2 dollars a month for up to 30 yrs at age 65=60 dollars for30 yrs---20% less if at 62=49.00 a month--insurance was 10.00 a day for 30 days

By Carl, Lake Linden on Saturday, December 21, 2002 - 10:17 pm:

In the winter of 1944 ,45 I worked for the Cppper Range Railroad in Calumet.I shoveled snow at the crossings, switches etc. I had the oppertunity to ride inside one of big snowplows, It was quite an experience. After one of our severe snowstorms we had to ride to Fulton Location, near Mohawk to clean the switches & crossings. They were hauling pulp logs from there also from Gay,Mi. Sometimes they would use two locomotives to push the plow .It was quite exciting. especially when we had to cross over the trestle at Copper City. The plow shook quite a bit. There were round portholes along either side and all one could see is snow flying. All this for 56 1/2 cents an hour.

By Jim in Illinois on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 01:33 am:

TO CARL IN LAKE LINDEN: You recently mentioned working for the Copper Range RR in '44-'45. Do you know of any other retired railroaders from the UP? I have traveled up there 7-8 times in the last several years and really grown fond of the area and its railroad history. I am trying to collect some railroad memorabilia from the Copper Range, Mineral Range, or DSS&A but don't know where to start. I would love to get a railroad key or lock or an old kerosene lantern from the railroad. Do you know of any other retirees who might have anything like this to sell to someone who likes the UP a lot? I even enjoy talking to these guys just to hear about railroading in the "old days". They sure come up with some good stories! Please email me direct at

By Charlie at Pasty Central on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 04:28 am:

Jim, a good place to begin is, which is hosted here at Pasty Central.

By maijaMI on Sunday, November 28, 2004 - 11:51 pm:

Darrell Oinas: I e-mailed you but the message was returned. I would be interested in a get together of UP lovers. Perhaps you could e-mail me.

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