Feb 19-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: February: Feb 19-06
Senter Winter Work    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the MTU Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 08:53 am:

What a treasure the Pasty Cam Guest Gallery has become! Last week on Valentine's Day I was browsing the 30,000+ uploaded photos - and came across this picture published on Valentine's Day 53 years ago in the local newspaper. Here's the text of the original caption from the Daily Mining Gazette "Green Sheet" on February 14, 1953:

"FAITHFUL old Mike draws the magazine truck under the direction of Driver Jack Poof. Observing the procedure is Manager George L. Barnes who acted as a guide on the journey during which these photos were made, and Otto Ristala, the powder line foreman. Mike is one of the most intelligent horses in industry. He knows the railway route like a book, and occasionally tells the men a few things about their work."
Of course, if you've followed the Pasty Cam over the last 8 years, you know the reference to "powder" is not powdered milk, but rather the explosive kind, processed at Senter between 1910-1960 for use in the mines of the Copper Country. Bill and Eloise Haller have assembled a fascinating visual history of "The Village", as it was known, and continue to add pictures, anecdotes, and artifacts as provided by the past and present "Senter Family", who have ties to this unique place.

Thanks to so many Pasty Central friends who have helped fill in our knowledge of Senter, which will be the topic of a special presentation by the Haller's next month at the MTU Archives. A 1927 quote from E. W. Maynard in the "History of the Explosives Industry" sums up the spirit of the Atlas-Senter crew:
"To mention Senter is to recall the hardy, loyal men, the majority of whom have worked at the plant since its construction. They carry on their duties with unusual efficiency under the most rigorous conditions encountered any where in the country."

Have a good week :o)
Grace M Wetton (Gmw) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 09:03 am:

Very interesting topic for todays discussion.

By Former Fulton Resident (Dashamo) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 09:16 am:

Just looked at the gallery for the Senter complex. Two questions: Where is Senter? Also, were the buildings intentionally burned down, or were the fires accidental?

By Chuck K (Chuckclarkston) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 09:42 am:

My Grandfather and two of my uncles worked at Atlas Powder. I loved to here the story of the day they had the big explosion from my uncle Jim Kulka. After the explosion the workers went inside buildings to get away from all the junk falling from the sky. I believe 3200 pounds of nitro went off that day. What a noise that must have made.

By JOHN AND ANNE KENTUCKY (Username) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 10:55 am:

Being a bit of a fireworks enthusiast I know a little about explosives,very little,but I was told the winter was a very dangerous time for manufacture due to the dry air. Apparently the static discharge from workers was the cause on occasion for factory explosions.I wonder if this was not as much of a problem up there due to the proximity of the lake?

By allen philley (Allen) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 11:12 am:

Frame 73 in the gallery tells the the story of the destuction of the plant.

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 12:21 pm:

I was friends with Mike Zemanick who's father worked at the dynamite factory and can remember Mike the horse, does anyone know what happened to the horse. Mike's parents were really nice to me and would let me stay at their house after we moved to Royal Oak and would return for vacations really nice people.

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 03:05 pm:


Some materials are more sensitive to static than others, with black powder and metallic fulminates and azides being some of the worst. While neither were made at Senter, the Atlas plant in Tomaqua would cease the manufacture of blasting caps during a thunderstorm. Mainly made by women, they were subject to clothing inspections, as nylon (spark producing) underware was also a no-no.

I'm told that dynamite is not overly static sensitive.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 03:22 pm:

Did Senter have a shipping dock or did all the shipments come by rail?

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 03:43 pm:

The present day road into Senter wasn't made until 1928. The Copper Range railway took employees in, in the morning, and back out in the afternoon. During WWI there were six passinger cars each way.

There were three finished dynamite warehouses that the train could load from on the southerly "powder-line" side, while employees and visitors however got off up north on the "safety side", at the office.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 04:23 pm:

Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz):
"Did Senter have a shipping dock...?"

These old (Click link here) ® 1913 Senter maps from the Apr 24-05 Cam Notes (posted by Mary Drew at Pasty Central on Wednesday, May 18, 2005 - 09:01 pm) seem to show some docks close by, down near Point Mills. I don't know if they were used by Atlas, however.

Senter area

Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 04:37 pm:

Afternoon, got up to 31 here. How's everybody keeping warm up there?

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, February 19, 2006 - 04:59 pm:

The docks at Point Mills were for the two stamp mills.

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