Quincy Dredge No. 2 is actually C&H Dredge No. 1


signature, photo by Marty Hogan

The Copper Country Explorer has an excellent feature on The Mining of Torch Lake begins:

Early stamp methodology was a very simple and archaic one – nothing more than a simple process of smashing rock down into small pieces and sorting out the copper. Everything that remained would then be dumped into tailing ponds as waste. In the Copper Country the largest of these tailing ponds was Torch Lake, where no less than five mines dumped millions of tons of waste rock into its depths. Unfortunately, these waste tailings often contained a great deal of copper which the jigs and wash tables of the mills failed to remove. Copper that ended up in Torch Lake.

As copper prices dropped and milling technology improved, mine companies began to take a second look at these copper bearing deposits in Torch Lake. It was now possible – and economically advantageous – for mines to retrieve those tailings and remove the copper that they still contained. The process was known as reclamation, and was first undertaken in earnest by C&H around 1920. Towards that end C&H built itself a dredge that could suck up those sands from the lake bottom and send them out to the reclamation plant on shore. This first dredge – known as C&H Dredge No. 1 – would be responsible for retrieving over 48 million tons of C&H sands in its lifetime, yielding over 423 million pounds of copper for the company.

The Quincy Mine got into the reclamation game several decades later – in 1943 – after failing to make a profit on its underground operation. In 1953 the C&H Dredge No. 1 was bought by Quincy to supplement its own dredge. It turned out to be exceptional foresight, as Quincy’s first dredge ended up sinking in Torch Lake in 1956. Its roof top can still be seen sticking up from the center of the lake. As for Quincy Dredge No. 2, it continued to mine Torch Lake for several more decades until it too sank in 1967.

Read on for a detailed account of the workings of the dredge, lots of views of the dredge and some great historical photos.

Check Marty’s photo out background big and see more in his 2012 August Road Trip slideshow.

More Michigan industry on Michigan in Pictures.

Happy 150th Birthday, Henry Ford

Henry Ford 1921 Model T

Henry Ford poses with 1921 Model T, photographer unknown

150 years ago today, on July 30, 1863, American industrial icon Henry Ford was born in Greenfield Township. The museum that he founded, The Henry Ford, says that Ford was a complex man who was ultimately responsible for transforming the automobile from an invention of unknown utility into an innovation that profoundly shaped the 20th century and continues to affect our lives today. A sampling of some of the facts about Ford they offer bear that out:

  • As a child, he was inspired by his mother, who encouraged his interest in tinkering. His father was a farmer. He encouraged Henry’s interest in the use of machines on the farm.
  • Thomas Edison was Henry Ford’s role model and later his close friend. (here’s a photo of Edison & Ford)
  • He built and drove race cars early in his career to demonstrate that his engineering designs produced reliable vehicles.
  • He financed a pacifist expedition to Europe during WWI, but during WWII Ford mobilized his factories for the war effort and produced bombers, Jeeps, and tanks. (more about that check out Willow Run on Absolute Michigan)
  • He owned a controversial newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, that published anti-Jewish articles which offended many and tarnished his image.
  • Henry Ford built Village Industries, small factories in rural Michigan, where people could work and farm during different seasons, thereby bridging the urban and rural experience.
  • The idea for using a moving assembly line for car production came from the meat-packing industry. Ford sought ways to use agricultural products in industrial production, including soybean-based plastic automobile components such as this experimental automobile trunk.
  • He was one of the nation’s foremost opponents of labor unions in the 1930s and was the last automobile manufacturer to unionize his work force. (not really a surprise there)

Read on for a full bio and if you ever have a chance definitely visit – it’s pretty amazing!

Low Point for the Great Lakes

Low water levels, West Arm Grand Traverse Bay

Low water levels, West Arm Grand Traverse Bay, photo by michiganseagrant

On Michigan in Pictures I usually blog beautiful things, but today I’m featuring an ugly thing that we in Michigan should all be concerned about. Traverse City based Circle of Blue has an in-depth feature on the record-low level of Lake Michigan-Huron:

The latest numbers released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on February 5 show that both lakes Michigan and Huron — which are two connected lakes — are experiencing their lowest point since records began in 1918. Water levels were an average of 175.57 meters (576.02 feet) for the month of January, approximately 2.5 centimeters (1 inch) lower than the previous record set in 1964.

“Not only have water levels on Michigan-Huron broken records the past two months, but they have been very near record lows for the last several months before then,” said John Allis, chief of the Great Lakes Hydraulics and Hydrology Office at the Corps, in a press release. “Lake Michigan-Huron’s water levels have also been below average for the past 14 years, which is the longest period of sustained below-average levels since 1918 for that lake.”

The low water levels, which the Corps attributes to: below-average snowfall during the winter of 2011-2012, last summer’s drought, and above-average evaporation during the summer and fall of 2012, have the potential to hurt the Great Lakes’ shipping industry.

…For the water levels on Lake Michigan-Huron to reach even near-average water levels again, the Corps said it will take many seasons with above average precipitation and below-average evaporation.

Read on at Circle of Blue for much more including the struggles that wildlife are having with the changing climate. You can also view the release from the Army Corps of Engineers and see historic Great Lakes levels back to 1918. From the Army Corps, I learned that at 1 1/2 ft below normal, ships are losing 8-10% of their carrying capacity.

Beyond harm to the multi-billion dollar shipping industry which feeds countless industrial endeavors, the low lake levels are making many of our recreational harbors inaccessible. These feed our multi-billion dollar sport fishing industry and  this has prompted Gov. Snyder to endorse a $21 million emergency dredging plan, $11 million of which would come from Michigan’s general fund. With over a half a million jobs in Michigan alone tied to the health of the Great Lakes, getting a handle on the threats that impact them are likely to be at the center of our policy and spending for a long time.

In a curious bit of synchronicity, you can see just how vital the Great Lakes are to Michigan in Michigan Sea Grant’s reports on Economic Vitality and the Great Lakes. View this photo bigger and see more in their Grand Traverse Bay Low Water slideshow.

Lots more Lake Huron and Lake Michigan on Michigan in Pictures.

The Quincy Copper Smelter

Abandoned Quincy Copper Smelter Pano / See the set.

Abandoned Quincy Copper Smelter Pano, photo by Whitney Lake

The Quincy Smelter Association says:

The Quincy Smelter is the only remaining copper smelter in the Lake Superior Region. Built by the Quincy Mining Company, the smelter used heat and chemical processes to turn copper ore into ingots. The ingots were then sold and shipped to factories where they were turned into products such as copper wire or tubing.

From 1898 to 1967 the Quincy Mining Company Smelter at Ripley processed copper, first from its mines and then later from its reclamation plant. The smelter complex is built on the stamp sand of the Pewabic mines’ mill. It continued to melt scrap copper until 1971.

Among the buildings remaining on the site are the three-story blast furnace, built in 1898, with additions in 1904 and again in 1910. The sandstone faced mineral warehouse built in 1904 is reached by a 460-foot trestle. The site also includes three rectangular warehouses, a concrete block briquetting plant built in 1906, a powerhouse, a casting house, carpenter and cooper shop for making barrels, as well as a machine shop, and laboratory.

The Copper Country Explorer has an incredible, multi-part tour of the Quincy Smelter that is rich with history and photography new & old. I can’t recommend that link enough! You can get some interesting stories of life at the smelter and the machines they used from the Quincy Smelter blog. The Keweenaw National Historical Park continues the story in Quincy Smelter Stabilization and Rehabilitation, saying that the smelter is now owned by Franklin Township:

The smelter complex is unique in the country and, perhaps, the world in the number and types of 19th and early 20th century buildings and landscape features that survive.

The continued survival of these structures is tenuous. Preservation of the complex is proving challenging. Since the final shutdown of the smelter in 1971, little has been done to maintain it. Severe winters and neglect have taken a sizeable toll; some buildings have collapsed, others are nearly so. Franklin Township took on the property as a preservation-friendly owner, and has endeavored to find new uses for the historic complex, including simply opening it as a heritage attraction as part of Keweenaw National Historical Park.

They also have a report on conditions at the site and plans for the future (includes a nice map of the site). If you’re interested in Michigan’s mining heritage, the Keweenaw National Historical Park (established 1992) is a relatively new and interesting project of the NPS.

Definitely check this photo out on black and see more in Whitney Lake’s Quincy Smelter / Michigan slideshow.

More from the Keweenaw National Historic Park on Michigan in Pictures.

The Ford 999

Henry Ford and Barney Oldfield and the Ford 999 in 1902, photographer unknown (via Wikimedia)

Henry Ford, founder and namesake of the Ford Motor Company, was born on July 30, 1863. He’s shown above with early racing great Barney Oldfield and the Ford 999. The Motorsports Hall of Fame says:

The oldest vehicle in the Motorsports Hall of Fame is the famous Ford 999 racer from 1902. Although it is not the first race car ever built, it is certainly the first car to rise to the status of legend.

Always seeking publicity, Barney Oldfield dubbed the car 999 after the feats of the record-holding New York Central locomotive.

Although the car is equipped with only one seat, a “Mechanician” was often kept busy oiling bearings and making adjustments while the car was being driven! The role more closely resembled that of an active sidecar acrobat than that of a riding mechanic.

The sister car of the 999 was the Arrow. It was a rebuilt Arrow that Henry Ford drove to 91.37 mph on frozen Lake St. Clair in January of 1904, for the new automotive World Land Speed record. After Ford set the record, his racing partner, Tom Cooper, sold both the 999 and the Arrow. The Arrow was renamed the New 999 by the new owner.

…Shortly before his death, Henry Ford is said to have remarked to Barney Oldfield: “You made me and I made you.” Oldfield shook his head and replied “Old 999 made both of us.”

You can see a great gallery of photos of early Ford race cars that includes shots of Ford and his mechanician and a modern photo of the 999 from The Henry Ford Museum on Flickr. The Henry Ford is located in Dearborn and they (of course) have a ton of information about Henry Ford.

More cars on Michigan in Pictures!

Truing up a 3 ton stone in Grindstone City

Grindstone City MI Lake Huron Village home to the old Grindstone Quarry LL Cook Card S322 1935 vintage Stamp Box Unsent

Grindstone City MI Lake Huron Village home to the old Grindstone Quarry LL Cook Card S322 1935 vintage Stamp Box Unsent, photo by UpNorth Memories – Donald (Don) Harrison.

“Grindstone City received its name in 1870. It happened in this way. Mr. James Wallace, one of the owners of the quarry at that time was talking to Mrs. Sam Kinch Sr., when she remarked that the village was growing so fast that it ought to have a name. They were discussing Stonington as a name when Mrs. Kinch suggested Grindstone and Mr. Wallace added City and from then on the village has been known as Grindstone City.”
from Mabel Cook’s “History of Grindstone City, New River and Eagle Bay” (1977).

The excellent history of Grindstone City from the Michigan State University, Department of Geography tells the fascinating story of the Huron County town that was once where the world turned for grindstones. This was due to the particular qualities of “Grindstone”, a special rock formation from Marshall Sandstone that made the finest sharpening stones. It all began:

In the year 1834, Capt. Aaron G. Peer, with his Schooner, the Rip Van Winkle, was forced to take haven in this natural harbor, during a storm. Capt. Peer is known as the “father” of Grindstone City, and located the first land in what is now Huron County. The sloop took anchorage here in a storm, and that Capt. Peer, his crew and his father came ashore to what was then a wilderness of pine, cedar, ash, beech, and maple, the cedar being so thick that snow remained in places although it was midsummer. In their exploring they found some big flat stone along the beach and on further examination, found evidence that these strata of rock was underlying the area to a lesser or greater extent . Samples were taken to Detroit where they were found superior to the Ohio flagstone which city officials were planning to use to pave some of the streets.

…On one trip, the sailors rigged up in a crude fashion a stone slab and used it to sharpen their tools. That year (1838) Capt. Peer, getting the idea from the sailors began shaping the grindstones at the place later known as Grindstone City.

Definitely read on to learn about the process that produced the grindstones from quarry to turning the stones shown above and ultimately to market.

One of the most commented posts on Michigan in Pictures is Not much remains of Grindstone City which featured a photo of one of the few remaining grindstones by Marty Hogan on a beach that was once covered in them. Here’s the Google Earth of Grindstone City, and there’s also a Grindstone City Facebook page with some photos and folks sharing memories and photos.

Don says the postcard above is from 1935. View it background big or settle back for his Grindstone City postcard slideshow.

Remembering Michigan’s legendary architect Albert Kahn

Albert Kahn's legacy

Albert Kahn’s legacy, photo by .brianday.

“Architecture is 90 percent business and 10 percent art.”
~Albert Kahn

Legendary Detroit architect Albert Kahn died on December 8, 1942. The Albert Kahn entry at Wikipedia begins:

Kahn was born on March 21, 1869 in Rhaunen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Kahn came to Detroit in 1880 at the age of 11. His father Joseph was trained as a rabbi. His mother Rosalie had a talent for the visual arts and music. As a teenager, he got a job at the architectural firm of Mason and Rice. Kahn won a year’s scholarship to study abroad in Europe, where he toured with another young architecture student, Henry Bacon, who would later design the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The architectural firm Albert Kahn Associates was founded in 1895. He developed a new style of construction where reinforced concrete replaced wood in factory walls, roofs, and supports. This gave better fire protection and allowed large volumes of unobstructed interior. Packard Motor Car Company’s factory built in 1907 was the first development of this principle.
The success of the Packard plant interested Henry Ford in Kahn’s designs. Kahn designed Ford Motor Company’s Highland Park plant, begun in 1909, where Ford consolidated production of the Ford Model T and perfected the assembly line. On Bob-Lo Island, Henry Ford had a dance hall designed and built by Albert Kahn, which was billed as the second largest in the world in a 1903 account…

Ten Albert Kahn designed buildings are recognized with Michigan historical markers:

    • Battle Creek Post Office
    • The Dearborn Inn
    • Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant in Warren, Michigan
    • Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan
    • Fisher Building
    • Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1331 Hill St., Ann Arbor
    • Packard Motor Car Company factory
    • The Detroit News
    • The Detroit Free Press
    • Willow Run

Get the complete list of his firm’s buildings (including the Russell Industrial Center) at Wikipedia. The company that Kahn founded in 1895 is still in the business. There’s an interesting biography of Albert Kahn from Ford that notes that a Detroit sculptor recognized Albert’s artistic talent and allowed him to attend his art school free. However, after discovering that Kahn was color blind, the artist encouraged him to become an architect and secured him a job as an office boy.

Check this photo out bigger and see more in Brian’s Detroit Flavor slideshow. Coincidentally enough, Brian just let me know that this photo is being hung in a gallery today along with 10 other prints from Brian (and another 10 from two other michpics regulars,  Jon DeBoer and Jeff Gaydash) at Studio Couture gallery, 1433 Woodward Avenue. Opening night for the exhibition will be this Saturday from 6pm-9pm. Details right here!

More Michigan architects & architecture from Michigan in Pictures.

Ford Rotunda Building at Christmas 1961

Ford Rotunda Building at Christmas 1961

Ford Rotunda Building at Christmas 1961, photo by kbreenbo.

Today on Absolute Michigan, we’re featuring the Ford Rotunda and the annual Christmas Fantasy. The feature on the Rotunda in the Detroit News tells how it burned in 1962 and explains:

Over the nine years the Christmas Fantasy was held, almost 6 million people visited it. Thousands of Detroiters had their first visit with Santa at the Rotunda, and memories of Story Book Land and the miniature circus mingle with childhood memories of stockings by the fireplace and cookies for Santa.

Check this out on black and see more in Karen’s Ford Historic Archives slideshow.

the time traveler: power


power, photo by .brianday.

Brian Day has a spectacular series of photos he calls the time traveler series.

Check this one out bigger and see many more in the time traveler slideshow.

More black & white photography from Michigan in Pictures.

Above & Along the Rouge River

Zug Island

Zug Island, photo by Airplane Lane.

Over on Absolute Michigan a little while back we had a feature from one of my favorite blogs, Bootstrap Analysis. It’s titled Urban Birding: Touring the Rouge River. For a look at what the Rouge looks like and a sense of how that happened, click over!

If you’re interested in the preservation efforts on the river, check out Friends of the Rouge River.

Check it out background bigtacular and in Matt’s awesome Aerial Photography slideshow.

Lots more Michigan aerial photographs on Michigan in Pictures.