July 21-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: July: July 21-06
Calumet & Hecla library     ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Bill Haller
Stone & brick masonry    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Rick Mayer
Alexander Agassiz    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Rick Mayer

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 07:26 am:

The man set in stone is Alexander Agassiz, who was instrumental in developing the mining operations in the Copper Country. You can read about his accomplishments with the history of the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company by clicking on his name above.

The top photo of Mr. Agassiz and the former Calumet and Hecla Library building was taken by Bill Haller and shows the structure's unique masonry work. Thanks to Rick Mayer, we get a closer look at both the face of the building and the face of Alexander.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 07:50 am:

A few years ago when the transfer of ownership of the building between International Paper and the Park Service took place, I had the opportunity to do the inventory of all the old maps, drawings, and other items related to copper mining in the Keweenaw. What a treasure chest of information that was stored in that building!!! Some of the oldest items dated back to the 1850's when maps were hand painted onto cloth. Most of the historic items are now in the Copper Country Archives at MTU, but what an opportunity it was to see, read, and touch a piece of history....

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 07:59 am:


By kosk in Toronto (Koskintoronto) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 08:19 am:

What an amazing life Alexander Agassiz lived.
Thanks for the link, Mary Drew. Capt. Paul,
weren't you the lucky one to get to do the
inventory of this material? It's fascinating to
get to know something about the names
behind the parks and buildings in the Copper
Country. Not having gone to school there, my
knowledge of the history of the area is spotty
at best--gleaned from historical markers and
the remembrance of Catton's book on
Michigan history.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 08:43 am:

Capt Paul...When you did the inventory.. did you see a director's chair similar to one that is depicted in the bronze statue of Alexander Agasszi?......I have two of the original board-room chairs and gave one to the Park Service. The other one is here in my den and I am looking at it as I write this......it will also go to the park service eventually. The chair is still solid oak and was originally covered in black leather.....my son has 17 of the original journals kept at the time the Calumet and Hecla was established...purchasing the board-room furniture etc.......all very interesting to read and I know he plans to get them to the archives at MTU......incidently, ....Alexander Agazzi was from Switzerland.............. my Grandfather was from Soulothurn Switzerland...(Mary Drew's Great-grandfather as well )

By Richard L. Barclay (Notroll) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 08:57 am:

On the front face of this building near the brickwork on the N. E. corner on a level with the first floor window's upper pane, is a black rock that had a defect and was patched with a white rock and the same amount of mortar showing as the rest of the wall. When I first saw it I was impressed with the care and workmanship of the masons involved. I've got a picture of it at:
Wasn't there a picture of the crew of masons on the wall inside the building?
Upstairs there are steel rods and turnbuckles keeping the roof square and the walls from spreading. It's been a while since I've been there but memory puts them at over 1 inch in diameter, crossing the room forming an X.

By David J. Whitten (Djwhitten) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 09:16 am:

Forty plus years ago I remember walking through the little park that was up the hill and behind my grandmother's house on Pine Street, to get to all of the fun stores on 5th. This statue then sat in the middle of that park and used to scare the stuffing out of me.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 09:51 am:

......I understand this building was built by Italian stonemasons...I think they did special, more decorative stonework. My Great-grandfather, Johann Joseph Fretter, was a German stonemason and hired while still in Germany to work at Quincy.....in 1884.....my Grandfather, Anselm Studer, was a Swiss stonemason....I think their work was more utilitarian.....but I know Anselm's first job (the powderhouse) for Quincy Mine is still standing in Ripley (without bracing).......

By Marg Rohrer (Marg) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 10:04 am:

Mary Lu, Andrew Agasszi's chair was used by Stan Dyl Director of the Seaman Mineral Museum at Michigan Tech. He used it for many years and I do not know what happened to it when he was done with it. Capt. Paul, hope you and Dr. Nat are doing good, drop me a line.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 10:24 am:

Marge.......I believe there were originally about 12 boardroom chairs....so which one was Mr Aggassiz's ??......anyhow, I did meet Stan Dyl but didn't know he had one of the chairs......where is Stan Now??...our chairs came from a cousin who was an executive with C&H...

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 10:59 am:

I did the inventory for a couple years, but the meat of the project was done in summer/fall 2001. Most of my work focused on the maps, drawings, and documents relating to mining operations and not only of C&H. You would be amazed at how much information C&H had from other companies in the area as well. I feel VERY lucky to be given the chance to work on that project and see items that few have observed.

As far as the Agasszi's chair MaryLou, I don't remember off-hand if I saw it or not. I know there were some beautiful smaller wood chairs in the boardroom that I would loved to have had. There was one large wooden chair in the boardroom that I used to sit in and document items, often wondering if that chair could talk what stories it would tell.

Marg: Dr. Nat and I are doing well, wishing we were back living in the Keweenaw among our friends. With any luck, we'll be up for the Tanzanite Ball, but can't say for sure yet....

By shawn (Twoyoopers) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 11:01 am:

this masonry in Calument is so gorgeous-


By Connie, Eagle River Alaska (Connie8792) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 01:48 pm:

Very interesting information, thanks!

By joanne sherick (Shedoesnails) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 02:50 pm:

I was just looking through some old pasty cam pictures and came across the discussion of the centennial heights school. what happened about that? did they have to tear it down?

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 03:15 pm:

I don't know for sure if C&H brought in Italian Masons to build the library or not, but C&H did have plenty of "in-house" Stonemasons. One of whom was my Greatx3 Grandfather, Anton Gipp - George Gipp's Grandfather. It has been said that a master Stonemason and his apprentice/helper were expected to fit and set 4 stones per day while building one of the "show" buildings like the library or office. This amounts to about 5 manhours per stone given a 10 hour day! In the same era, E.I. duPont de Nemours Co. in Wilmington, DE. constructed many stone buildings for their black powder mills and, later, dynamite works. In order to keep skilled stonemasons employed and on the payroll, Dupont built miles of stone fences around the Wilmington area. These stonewalls are still standing today. They just don't build things like they used to!

By Vincent Vega (Theoneandonlyk‚) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 03:47 pm:

I sit and type this on my keyboard that is on top of one of the original "library" tables that was once in that building.
No, you can't have it back !

By Dr. Nat (Drnat) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 03:48 pm:

Alexander Agassiz was the son of Louis Agassiz, a very famous geologist. Louis was one of the first geologists to recognise the glacial features of northern Europe and northern North America. He had quite a fight convincing the scientists of the time that there had been a large Ice Age in the not so distant past.

By eugenia r. thompson (Ert) on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 05:52 pm:

Thanks, Dr. Nat. I was wondering if there was a connection to Louis.

By james f. haven (Technoido) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 06:19 am:

A couple years ago, as Christman General ((the same Christman
that rehabed Hll Auditorium here in Ann Arbor ( I was tech
director for Hill and consultant to the project)),was rehabing the
C&H offices for the Park headquarters, I had the amazing
opportunity to get a very complete tour of the C&H project. From
the basement to the attic. 36" foundation walls, 6"concrete
ceiling just below the attic.The building had been used for
doctors offices for years, but the upper stories had been
untouched for 30+ years, C&H letterhead piles of paper,
lettering still on office doors, etc. I was too polite to take
anything, but if my guide had turned his head for a second, a
keepsake would have been mine. When we walked into the
boardroom, I could still feel the power that once emanated from
that room. Made me stop in shock. You folks that have stuff
from there are so lucky. Dr. Paul, your experience is priceless.
Anybody that wants to talk about this kind of thing, I'm all ears.
Mary Lou take good care of those journals. Have since toured
the Union Building (another Christman project) while it's rehab
was in progress. The ballroom/stage on the third floor was a
beauty. Thank heavens for the interest of a VP from Christman in
preserving things.
Italian stonemasons, hmmmm. My mothers uncle, Walter C.
Gardner became a stonemason after being a trainman for C&H.
(Still have his union card.) And doing a few other wild things in
his life: Mexican War, Alaska gold rush, trip to Japan pre1920
(where he got the inspiration for our family (4 or 5 generations)
home--- curved roofs (can you say composite laminate beams
for rafters, and in the 1920s!) a la pagodas, he even painted the
trim on our Ann Arbor cobblestone "country cottage" red ),
Vashon Island, etc. Family lore has it that he would horse and
wagon into town to the courthouse square, wave a big jug of red
wine at the the Italian day laborers lounging on the courthouse
steps, they would jump aboard and work for a while on his
house. If they didn't do enough (maybe too much red
wine?)----- no ride back to town. Wonder if he picked up the
trade from UP there. Still have rockpiles of bulding materials in
the yard. Farmers were happy to give him their corner piles of
rocks from their clearing fields.
Sorry for so much babble.

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 10:50 am:

james....What interesting information.....wish you had taken some stuff from C&H because I believe a lot of it was just thrown out.....My son treasures his 17 ledgers..they are large leather bound. The penmenship is a work of art.....one or two are lists of nationnalities employed..many payroll ledgers with all names and wages earned and what they purchased from the company....my favorite is the journal from when C & H was established listing the purchases for setting up a great company.....it is a long story of how these wonderful journals were purchased by my then, 14 yr old son. He has a lifelong "burning"-interest in all things C&H...having grown up in a family of employees.... he was a willing listner to all the history related by grandfathers, uncles,cousins. He, with these journals. inspired a high school friend here in Escanaba.. to pursue a career in Industrial Archeology (MS..MTU) etc. Incidently, I sang in Hill Auditorium in a choir while we were at U of M....it was also a great experience...loved Ann Arbor..Go Blue....

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 11:03 am:

.....PS..I must add that the young friend of my son went on to author the book "Range of Opportunity"..a wonderful book about the south range and Painsdale....it is now out of print but if you are lucky enough to have a copy hang on to it.......used copies are available on the internet for $150....

By Jayne (Beekeeeper) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 01:19 pm:

I, too, am a former Yooper. The stories above reminded me of a book I used to have. It reminded me of some of my former neighbors. I seldom loan books but I did this one and it was lost.
"Haywire" by Ira G. Farrell (not certain of spelling of last name of author)
If anyone knows how I could obtain a copy, please contact me. Beekeeeper@aol.com
Thank You very much.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 05:01 pm:

I can assure you MaryLou, while I was doing the inventory NOTHING got thrown out into the dumpster!!! I had to be very specific on what was there, what was to be retained by International Paper, and what was to be transferred to MTU. I still have a copy of those inventories so I know what went where (I think it's like 120 pages long).

By Bill Denning (Parpagayo) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 05:47 pm:

Marg and Mary Lou --

Stan Dyl is still the Director of the Seaman Museum, and lives in Calumet. You can look him up on Tech's web site, click on Search, and then click on Email Addresses, and enter his last name. I'd post his address here, but the last time I did that, it was harvested by malware and started a spam storm at MTU!

Stan is one of the people driving the move of the museum to the national park. Myself, I'd rather see the Seaman Museum remain at Tech. Having said that, Stan has worked hard for many years to improve the museum, and is always ready to answer questions from amateur mineralogists of all ages!

Cheers, Bill

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Saturday, July 22, 2006 - 06:00 pm:

Capt Paul..... I am sure nothing was thrown away after the "Powers That Be" became interested, in the 80s (?)..... especially on your watch.. ......Was Goodman Div. part of International Paper?....Tony Baudek, Pres. of Goodman was a personal friend here in Escanaba..he was there when C&H folded in the late 60s (?) so we had many discussions regarding the Company....a very sad time.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, July 23, 2006 - 11:17 pm:

I couldn't tell you if Goodman had any involvement when I was there MaryLou; everything I did was for IP, Mineral Resources Division which, ironically enough, is located here in Houston. I do know that if some of the people working at the office in Calumet had their way, a lot of stuff would have been thrown out. Luckily though, all of the historic documents went to MTU.

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