Jan 21-07

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2007: January: Jan 21-07
A Dredge for All Seasons    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the Archives
Spring    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the Archives
Fall    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the Archives
Summer    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo from the Archives

Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:29 am:

There are several recurring themes on the Pasty Cam which fascinate quite a few visitors - myself included - like the old radar base at Mount Horace Greeley or the Italian Hall disaster. But among the more frequent questions-comments-interest of any past topic on the Pasty Cam is the old dredge in the water near Mason. This week I received the following:

I am trying to learn about suction copper dredges as a result of reading about the Quincy Dredge in the new book Weird Michigan (seems it is haunted...)

The best info I have been able to find is actually a chat you had initiated in 2003. I got the impression that those posting were locals, who were able to contribute more to my research than anywhere else on the web.

For more mechanistic info on the how and why of the dredging, see: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/pd020408.htm (Interesting part starts at Section IV- Site History)

Also kind of unsettling- in 1984 fish consumption from Torch Lake was placed under a health advisory by the gov't from cancerous growth in fish due to the copper mining chemicals. (See http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/nar612.htm)

I am unable to post in the old archives, and was hoping maybe the discussion will be resurrected.

Tabby McLain
To follow up our discussion from last Sunday, about how the Pasty Cam could be more effectively organized, perhaps we need to consolidate some of those past discussions into one topic so that all relevent conversation can be found in one place, with the ability to add comments under the newer forum format. Thanks to all who have been in touch with ideas about taking the Pasty Cam to the next level.

Have a good week :o)
Deb S. (Usedtobeayooper) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:33 am:

OMG that fall picture is absolutely spectacular, even with that old dredge in it. Wouldn't it be wonderful if they could make that into some kind of museum or something? Cuz the way it is now is not very attractive. But these shots are fabulous! Charlie, who took these pictures?

The top Winter photo is by Z-Man, Spring was taken by Mary Drew, the Autumn shot is by Dale Odgers, and Summer is by Taka Aoki, with the 1957 inset by Jim Haralson.

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:39 am:

Beauty is in the eye of the be-holder,, Good morning...

By Jack K (Jackinct) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:39 am:

I think that would be a very good idea as I like to go back through old topics once in a while and sometimes it's difficult to find the right ones.
If you do make common forums like that, would it be possible to mark the index in some way to show which ones had new postings (the date of the latest posting or just a "new" highlight)?

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:51 am:

While I've never seen it, I understand from fishermen that a second dredge is also sunk in Torch Lake.

By David G Freeze (Davef9080) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 10:58 am:

I have seen mention of raising the dredge and repairing it. The main concern about doing this is stirring up the sediment that has the chemicals and heavy metals in it that caused the original water quality problems mentioned in the EPA reports from the 1980's.

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 11:10 am:

I think that Justin La Rue was on the dredge when it sunk, I think he is still alive and he used to have a lot of good stories someone should talk to him about it and record it. I remember when the first one sunk and the sirens went off in Hubbell when it did. My Dad at one time worked on land where the dredged material came into the shop. Does anyoner remember the old fire engine in the forties, it had a right hand steering on it I think.

By Danbury (Danbury) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 11:28 am:

Here we dredge again ... and again there's something new. I don't think I've ever seen the shots from Mary Drew nor Taka before.
Although I think some personal ties to this place are necessary to see this wreck as an asset. As pittoresque it may appear in above shots, even after reading more than one day about it, it still seems to be ... junk to me. Sorry, guys. :)
Ok, the museum idea might be worth a shot. Museum quality of an old dredge notwithstanding, who's funding?

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 11:47 am:

What will the heritage of the "disposable economy" be?

By Alicia Marshall (Aliciak) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 11:52 am:

Found this blurb in an old newspaper
Ironwood Daily Globe (Ironwood, Michigan) > 1956 > January > 16
Dredge Sinks in Torch Lake
A 500 ton dredge sank Sunday in 40 feet of water when a rotted timber gave way, but when it's three man crew escaped to safety.
The dredge operated by the Quincy Mining Cp. settled slowly enough to permit the crew to reach shore on a pontoon bridge at Torch Lake, an arm of Portage Lake in Houghton county.
The dredge with a pumping capacity of 10,000 tons a day was to return sand from the lake bed to a reclamation plant were waste copper is recovered.

By derek tuoriniemi (Derek) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:00 pm:

yes, lets get rid of the dredge and every other single mining era ruin that might not be the best looking, i mean, who really cares about our local history anyways....im kidding of course - toivo

By Gordon Schmitt (Gordy) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:04 pm:

The top of the sunken dredge used to stick up above surface of the water, but I guess the wood finally rotted and it broke off. The Coast Guard places a bouy at the location now, I assume what remains is close enough to the surface to be a hazard.

By Gordon Schmitt (Gordy) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:07 pm:

If you look at the 1957 photo of the dredge in the series (smallest phot), you can see the sunken one sticking up in front of the working dredge.

By Michael Du Long (Mikie) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:09 pm:

Derek, I would like to go to a parade with you some time and I could go as a bottle of Heinz catsup, how about it? You are right about the history being erased from the Copper Country, now a days people call it the Keewenaw, and ignore our humble beginings. Remember the first toilet in Michigan was in Houghton. Calumet was considered for the state capital at one time, it had more money and was not in the middle of a cow pasture like Lansing was.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:20 pm:

Just went to the site mentioned above on the dredging posted by Tabby and I was in awe. I had no clue as to all the dumping into the lakes and then retrieving the copper. Is it still an EPA concern?

By Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 02:27 pm:

To go along with what Gordy said above about the sunken dredge and the Coast Guard placing a buoy at the location, back in 2003 I was kayaking around the area and took this picture of it.

Sunken Dredge Buoy

I also thought you might like to see a picture from inside. You can kayak right in and you really experience an optical illusion of the water going downhill, due to the tilt of the building.
Inside the Dredge

Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 03:27 pm:

Gonna be a Yooper ~

Check out the EPA site that Charlie was nice enough to post. Scroll down a bit until you hit SITE HISTORY, it's quite enlightening. Heavy metals aren't listed, but pyridine is today known as a major carcinogin.

By Gonna be a Yooper (Joanie) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 04:21 pm:

Thanks Mr. Bill, you learn something new everyday, eh? Sure love this site, we're learning about the "historic" UP every day!

By Gordon Schmitt (Gordy) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 04:43 pm:

I hate seeing any of the old mining/mill sites falling apart and as much as I would like to see the dredge raised, or at least brought level, maybe moved onto dry land where it sits, I can't really think of what would be exciting for people to see in the dredge. I suppose you could do pictures and a history of what it did. But for equipment inside, it would be mostly electrical and pumps.
If anything I would like to see fixed up is the old Quincy Smelter in Ripley. But after the Mining Gazette article a while back, that doesn't sound to promising anymore.

And yes Danbury,
I think you have to have an interest in the area for it to have any meaning. I was a small kid and remember all the stuff still working, and now to see the ruins, really hurts. I got to ride a C&H train from Calumet to Lake Linden and back with my dad, not to many people can claim that anymore. Its a strange feeling to ride the right of way on an ATV, and know I did ride a train there around 40 years ago or so. Yikes showing my age now.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 04:47 pm:

I am old enough to remember going aboard coal boats as they unloaded at the Quincy plant site on Torch Lake in the 40's. To us kids when they talked of Lorain & Conneaut, Ohio we figured they were on the other side of the moon as our little world seemed to have ended at the Houghton bridge until we got into high school.
With the large sand banks also located in Hubbell and Lake Linden when were the dredges last used there as I dont seem to recall seeing any while growing up there.

By Jim Haralson (Jhattica) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 05:16 pm:

The Lake Linden sand bank was created from the mills. It was not re-dredged to my recollection.
They did dredge the Tamarack sand bank.
The sand banks were not created by the dredges originally, but were "mined" by them as reclamation methods improved.
Jim Haralson
I worked on the hulk for three summers while going to Northern.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 05:26 pm:

I was going to explain about how the copper processing operations work, but the EPA site does a pretty good job of it. People are always amazed at how much copper was "dumped" into the lake after it was crushed and separated in the old days, but they really didn't have the technology at the beginning to recover all the copper that was being mined. I know just at Quincy's Mill in Mason alone, around 50,000 tons of copper was reclaimed from Torch Lake.

It is very sad to see the mining sites are falling apart and not being preserved. What is even sader is that it appears no one is really interested in preserving them. I know receiving funding would be a major issue, but it starts with community interest which sad to say, I don't see a lot of in the Copper Country, home of America's first mining/mineral rush!!

By Carmen Makela (Mrsmaxx) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 05:57 pm:

The small insert picture of the dredge is very interesting. Does anyone know if there are more to be seen? Also is there a way to enlarge the picture to see more detail?

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 06:25 pm:

Dale Odgers;What say you? This has been your backyard for Fifty some years.Real nice Autumn shot you captured.I say clean up the mess as safe as can be done and build something that will generate some tax flow there,such as jobs.

By FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 07:31 pm:

Carmen Makela (Mrsmaxx):
"... is there a way to enlarge the picture to see more detail?

Carmen, iIf you were using Click ® Mozilla's Firefox instead of Microsoft Internet Explorer as your browser, you could use the ImageZoom add-on; it does just that, just right-click on any image, click on Image Zoom in the popup menu and choose your zoom level.

By Joe Dase (Up_miner) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 07:54 pm:

Its sad to see the old dredge rusting/rotting away. There was some talk of the Houghton County historical society having the title to it now? Does anyone know? It would be neat to see it refloated and brought out to the smelter site as part of a display (assuming money was no object). I know there is intrest to see the old thing saved, I for one would donate time (as a laborer or an engineer) and money towards the project.

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 07:57 pm:

There is a fantastic site called COPPER COUNTRY EXPLORER and they show mines, dredging, sand banks, railroads etc...I have been on the site for many, many hours and have toured the COPPER COUNTRY from Keweenaw to Ontonagon...

By Christie Weber Serotzke (Christieweber) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 08:00 pm:

I have been going up north my entire 45 years of life and that old dredge house has always been there
and I feel that it should remain there as a great conversation piece of days gone by. My great grandparents and grandparents lived up there and that dredge house would always spike wonderful memories and began many conversations of life in the beautiful Upper Penninsula of Michigan.

I also love to show that to friends that come up to visit us in the summer and I love the interest it sparks in them.

Does anyone remember a woman by the name of Alice Reynolds who used to live out at the Great Sand Bay near Eagle Harbor? She was an artist and my grandmother has passed down these most wonderful pasty plates and cups, ashtrays and tiles all painted with local berries, flowers and foliage.
They have the most wonderfully smooth surface and I would love to add to my collection.

Thanks all

Have a great evening.

By dan belo (Djbelo) on Sunday, January 21, 2007 - 09:54 pm:

FRNash/PHX, AZ (Frnash) thanks--sure works nice

By Danbury (Danbury) on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 03:13 am:

Thnx - dito.

By Beverly, San Jose (Beverly) on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 07:55 am:

There is such a beautiful shore line that someone could build a beautiful cottage with a background of colorful trees, but with a view like that, who wants it. Everyone talks about it, but there is never any action. It's been going on since I was a kid, how much longer?

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Monday, January 22, 2007 - 06:05 pm:

The Lake Linden bank was the first to dredged. It is the tailings from the Calumet Conglomerate Lode and those tailings, once reclaimed, produced more copper than most mines did at the time C&H was operating its dredges on it. Tamarack, Osceola, and Ahmeek sands were reclaimed after the Lake Linden bank was finished. The Quincy operation lasted only a little more than 20 years. Starting towards the end of WWII and running into the mid-60's. Up until the introduction of floatation and ammonia leaching, the extraction of copper from the rock was mechanical rather than chemical.
My Grandfather worked in the C&H smelter during the WWI era, pretty much the only stuff going into the smelts was mill concentrate, which was mostly native copper and some rock. They did get "black muck" from White Pine which was owned by C&H at that time. He didn't like working with that stuff. C&H experimented with asbestos coveralls for the smelter workers - that worked fine for keeping molten copper or slag out, but if a piece found its way in - it couldn't be shaken out and worse burns resulted. The coveralls were soon abandoned. My grandfather smoked, worked in smelters, foundries, and welding all his working life - he lived into his 80's. Go figure, that supposedly should have killed him by time he was 40.

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