July 30-06

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2006: July: July 30-06
Prime time at Central Mine    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from James Ludos
Population explosion    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from James Ludos

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 09:55 am:

It's a story which was repeated all around the mineral-rich Keweenaw Peninsula: the discovery of a copper vein, the rapid building of mining infrastructure and homes, a period of booming population and productivity, and eventual exhaustion of the resources. Time eventually reclaims the land, as old houses collapse and are hauled away.

There are still a few of those houses standing at Central, on US-41 between Calumet and Copper Harbor. There is also a nice visitor's center maintained by the Keweenaw County Historical Society. It will be quite busy today, with hundreds of folks attending the 100th Reunion of Central Church.

Central Reunion
courtesy of the Daily Mining Gazette

Our thanks to James Ludos for the scan of the wonderful old Isler photo, and to Jane Nordberg for her coverage of today's event.

Have a good week :o)
Susan Lahti (Finn_in_texas) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 10:23 am:

My maternal grandmother, Hilda Anetjarvi, was born in Central, Michigan in the 1890s. Very interesting to see a picture of the place of her birth. Will have to save this to my genealogy file. Thank you.

By allen philley (Allen) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 11:14 am:

I just Love these old photos. I have always been curious about the flat area in the lower right of the top photo.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 11:30 am:

it looks like the land was cleared and the structures plopped down without much landscaping. There's a lot of smoke. It must have been a pretty unpleasant life being there?
Most of the early pics from up there look very similar. I suppose early on things were a mess, but then cleaned up after a bit.

We never went to Calumet...I don't remember ever being in downtown Calumet..just on 41 on the way to Copper Harbor. There are very few structures on the way up there anymore. It must have been a totally different world when the mines were in full operation.

By Cotton (Cotton) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 12:07 pm:

My father in law has the camp on the corner as ou turn left to go to the church. He has had it since 1946. It is the well maintained camp kept up by he & the family. It has a beautiful yard with a well manicured lawn. He is very fond of it & has spoken to alot of people who drive up the hill to see Central. It was a busy town in its day. Now there are only a few camps being used by the residents.(owners)

By william wright mattingly (Wrightmattingly) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 12:21 pm:

The old pictures seems like a simple time in life to live. Not like today.I just went over to the army unit I was in back in 64, when I left Tamarack mills.By way of Google Earth Satellite, the old unit was there,but the german people are changing it,since the army moved out.You can also see the big mac.okey but a lot of citys over here are blurred.Not like europe.Germany shows up real good. Hello, Gracie Reed in L'anse.

By Cotton (Cotton) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 12:21 pm:

I forgot to mention in my last post that my husband Rick & I were married in the Central church 13 years ago.(July 24,1993) It was on the day before the annual church service. We'd always thought it would be great to get married in the church. There aren't many weddings performed there. It was a beautiful wedding. The next day we held a reception at Rick's Dad's camp down the roadfrom the church. Life came back to Central that day. Both days were perfect. And we will always hold fond memories of the church & Central.

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 12:42 pm:

The Central visitor center is definitely worth visiting. There are some houses that you can tour which are decorated as they would have been.

Really interesting.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 12:54 pm:

Can you still drive beyond Central, up over the ridge past Copper Falls Lake to connect with the Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road? Needs 4-wheel drive?

By Therese (Therese) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 01:21 pm:

Our complex lifestyle is due to having spare time and money after the necessities of life are met, so we can go to theater, rent movies, read books, take university classes at home, or tap into the internet's gold mine of information. Back then in 'simpler' days people spent the majority of their time and energy providing for food, shelter and clothing. They lived closer to the ragged edge of starvation, and were always one failed harvest away from real trouble. I am happy to be alive now. As for the complexities of modern life, that's just the sauce on the pasty.

By Margaret, Amarillo TX (Margaret) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 02:45 pm:

boom town!

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 02:51 pm:


It's open all the way, to any type of car, just gravel.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 03:06 pm:

The flat structure in the lower right corner is sort of a mystery. There was another shaft behind and to the right of the photographer, you can see either a hoisting cable or wire rope drive leaving the stone enginehouse in wooden covered cableway to protect it from the ever growing poor rock piles. There is also a short pulley stand showing. It was relatively common for the fissure mines along the cliffs to sink a shaft at or near the top of the cliff and drive adits from the shaft out the side of the cliff to provide access at a lower level. The West Vein Mine at Phoenix had a very short adit out to the rockhouse. Cliff appears to have diven one out of the shaft on top once the area was filled with poor rock. This was a short adit about 40 feet below the collar and between two previously deposited poor rock piles. A tramway with some elaborate timbered covering was used to transport more poor rock to the big pile that is on the face of the cliff, traces of this are still visable. The flat wooden surface visable in the upper photo may well be the protective cover of a tramway out of an adit driven out from below the collar of that upper shaft. The use of power was pretty much limited to hoisting and pumping water in those days and it would have been good practice to dive an adit out to dump poor rock and/or reach the rockhouse which was farther down the hill from the shaft. When the upper photo was made, they had run out of room for poor rock below the level of the possible adit and where hoisting all the way to the top and were dumping down onto the area above the adit which now appears to be abandoned. This is pretty much speculation on my part, if someone else hase more information, please share it.

By allen philley (Allen) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 03:45 pm:

Paul, thank you and I believe you are probably correct as that was my thoughts also.
Paul, have you explored the Cliff site much? I have only along the base of of the Cliff, my last visit I considered finding a way up but when I heard noises in the brush I ran for my car. It was early May and I did not want to see what( like a Bear) made the noise.

By Helen (Heleninhubbel) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 03:51 pm:

Gee.....you look at these places now and can hardly believe there were so many people around and so many houses. Wouldn't it be neat if we could just creep back and see what it was like from the 1900's to now......I'm not saying to live then......those days must have been so hard.
Can you imagine medical care....having babies...broken bones....water retention....No washing machines......toilets......ohh yucky....God rest to those hard working precious people.

and God's blessings to all of you.......

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 05:34 pm:

Tough times for sure..Now my grandson tells me he didnt have a VCR until he was fourteen in the 1990's!!!!!!!!!

By Russell E. Emmons (Russemmons) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 07:51 pm:

"Heleninhubbel": As a boy living in Pewabic in the 40s in a Calumet & Hecla company house just 3 doors from the now famous Quincy #2 Shaft ($7.50 a month rent!), I can tell you it was exactly that way even as late as the late 40s and probably the early 50s! We and many others actually experienced
life as such then! I remember those tough conditions oh so well! Unfortunately, we now as Senior Citizens living on a low fixed income (Yes they didn't even have Social Security and most forms of public dole back then!), are still way too close to, as Therese says, "That ragged edge of starvation".
Because of all this, I guess I have a bit of the spirit of the recently departed Detroit councilwoman Maryann Mahaffey who was a champion & fighter for the underdog, underpriviliged, sick & disabled, underpaid, homeless, and immigrants from wherever they came! Perhaps too I could say this about my just passed mother who born & raised in the Copper Country of Finnish descent was always for the sick & poor and for children everywhere. She and her siblings lived their share of life as you describe it! Bless her & Maryann!
Why did WE live like this you say? My father fought in WW2, was a hero in the Battle of the Bulge, was wounded, both physically and mentally damaged and things were never right thereafter.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 08:27 pm:


The flat wooden roof in the lower right corner of the photo is indeed a protective covering for the adit that lead to #2. Central had 4 shafts, and what you are seeing in that photo is the bottom 2. The other 2 shafts are further up the hill in a straight line with the first 2 and all parallel with the central fissure. And I wouldn't say that there was a complete exhaustion of mineral resources at Central, just un-economical to mine out copper with the methods they were using. The resource is there, just not the reserves.......

By Fran in GA (Francesinga) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 09:41 pm:

Russ, you are right.I remember in the 40's most everyone still had out houses,hand pumps in the houses, very sparse lighting, no hot water. Wood to heat and cook with. We did have a 39 refrigerator bought the yr I was born. I remember getting blocks of ice and using "The hole in the wall" to store some things. Life was harder then but it is the way most people lived and we thought we had it o.k. In many ways we had it better.

By David Soumis (Davesou) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 09:58 pm:

I do remember outhouses..we didn't have one, but there were still a few in our area...that was in the 50s. A lot of folks had wood stoves. My aunt used to cook on one, I remember that...
There was an ice house not far from where I lived.
I remember getting our 1st TV... that was around 1960 or thereabouts...maybe a bit later. There was one station, channel 6 in Marquette. It didn't go on the air until 6pm ..black and white. I recall the test pattern being on most of the day.
It was a different world up in the Copper Country well into the 60s, compared to other areas of the country...lower Michigan and so forth.

it still is ... which is a good thing

By Mary Lou Curtin (Marylou) on Sunday, July 30, 2006 - 11:02 pm:

I moved to Lake Linden in 1946 when my father retired from the Kenosha Police Dept. Life was rough for many of my friends but I don't think they knew it. Their homes were comfortable and mostly happy. The center of our world were our families and friends, school and church ...we had fun and made lifelong friends.... Most of the fathers worked for C&H and I remember many lay-offs and strikes when money was even more scarce but most had families to help through the rough times....There were "well-to-do" families as well but they didn't seem any happier. I remember thinking my Lake Linden friends were more "with-it" then my city friends....many were second generation Americans and they appreciated what they had. They remembered the depression so having a job ment the world......they had love, a cozy home and simple pleasures and were grateful for what they had.

By Julwisc (Julwisc) on Monday, July 31, 2006 - 11:12 am:

Does anyone know the perspective on this photo? Is it photographer facing the direction of the Eagle Harbor Cutoff Road?

By Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Saturday, August 5, 2006 - 07:24 pm:

Cotton, Very cool story!

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