Aug 21-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: August: Aug 21-08
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Photos by Brooke Gubacz
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Photos by Brooke Gubacz
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Photos by Brooke Gubacz

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 05:10 am:

If you're exploring the grounds of old mining properties around the Keweenaw, you're bound to find some of these man-made mountains, like Tyler, Sammy and Tanner scaled here. The rock that comprises these hills is commonly called "poor rock", as it's the waste that the miners dug out of the ground while they were digging for the more precious copper metal. The gray/black rock was hauled out of the mines and dumped in piles like this, just to get it out of the way of the mining operations below ground. These then became a sort of playground for the children, as they climbed them, played on them and in the winter months often used them for sledding hills too. In case you didn't notice, there was at least one more person up on top the rock piles and that would be Brooke Gubacz, the eye behind the camera. The reward for making the climb with the kids was the view she was able to take in of the Kearsarge area surrounding her. It may be called "poor rock" and "waste", but it sure can make you feel like the king of the world standing so high above everything else.

By Serena Sturm (Serena) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 07:36 am:

Great view!

By Janie T. (Bobbysgirl) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 08:25 am:

Great kids there Brooke!

By Uncle Chuck @ Little Betsy (Unclechuck) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 09:45 am:

We use to play on the rock piles when we were kids.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 10:49 am:

We had fun up there. The Boys are my cousins kids and they came to my place for one evening and went exploring. They thought they would strike it rich in the poor rock piles, and thought it was so cool that they could walk there!

It really is a pretty view up there.

By William P. Aubin (Dasfliger) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 10:55 am:

Do you think there is any silver left in those tailings? 7:45 AM here in Mesa and it looks like another hot day1 Wish I was up there
in the cool clean air!

By bill d-howellmi (Billdolkey) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 10:57 am:

My grandfather, Kaarlo Dorffi,(born 1879!) worked in the mines in Allouez. My mother said he called the poor rock "puurokki" or something like that. she thought it was a Finnish word until she was a little older and realized he was saying poor rock in Finglish.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 11:21 am:

There is a fair amount of silver in the piles up there, one just needs to know where to look. However, don't expect to get rich either. In addition to the "white copper", there are also many other neat minerals to collect as well. As always, know where you are at, avoid any depressions around the piles, and always ask permission if they are privately owned.

The gray/black rock Mary described is the host rock for the copper, basalt. Basalt was not the only host for the copper (and silver) though, as many a miner in Calumet would know. The C&H Conglomerate was the largest producer of copper in the district.

I'm in Austin all week for training, so my messages will be short but I will try to get on as much as possible today as this is a topic near and dear to my heart ;-)

By Eddyfitz (Eddyfitz) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 12:00 pm:

My dad often stated to me that Mason jars were used to get "silver copper" out of the smelter and down to the jewlery store in LL.

By Brooke (Lovethekeweenaw) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 12:12 pm:

We had to buy a book about the local rocks (I'll plug Copper World here as the place to get it). The kids wanted to know what it all was. They have a book on Local Agates there and a pamphlet on the type of rocks and such you can find in the poor rock piles in the area.

By Danielle L. Adams (Badkid) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 01:01 pm:

Sweet pics!

Heck yeah...not too long ago some guys where my dad was working was going through the rock piles. This guy found a rare rock and it was worth a few thousand like it was. If you know what your looking for you could make a killing around here with these rock piles.

By Paul H. Meier (Paul) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 05:50 pm:

There are lots of neat things to find in the poor rock piles, including silver. Cousin Frank Pontello was quite a rockhound in the 50's and 60's and found various semi-precious gemstones. Greenstones, datolite? etc. Being young, I was more into finding copper in those days. This was fairly easy on the poor rock piles at the older mines, especially at the mass mines like Cliff and Central. I found several small masses over a pound. Our biggest metallic find was a ~30 pound half-breed (copper & silver)at the Phoenix mill site along the river between Phoenix and Eagle River. Frank kept it. Other stuff in the piles range from miner's shoes to some fairly big tools and equipment. It was all hard work, and back in those days word would get out that C&H might have disturbed a pile with a bulldozer and the rockhounds would gather like seagulls at the garbage dumps. Anything that moved the rock around meant there were new discoveries to be made. Now, when a pile is recycled into road gravel, it is the folks with metal detectors who gather at the new turned rock. Like any other activity around old mines, be careful, even the poor rock piles can be dangerous.
Speaking of playing on the piles, Frank liked to recall his boyhood days in Calumet when the rival neighborhood gangs would face off on the poor rock piles and try to stone each other. Child's play had different meaning at the turn of the last century.

By anita king (Anita5) on Thursday, August 21, 2008 - 06:13 pm:

We lived on Caledonia St. and the 2 "rock piles" behind us were our playground. Lots of fun in the winter.

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