The stories found on this page are reprints from old issues of the Copper Range Newsletter from the early 1960's to early 1970's. A special thank you to Chuck Bennett, Manager of Industrial Relations for the Copper Range Company for providing me with all these wonderful CR News Issues, which I now pass on to you. (KEMusser)
The following story appeared in Volume 4 Number 7 of the CR News which was published in August 1964.
The Copper Range Railroad's last passenger coach starts on its trip to
Marquette from the yard on the Houghton side of the bridge that links Hancock.
Last CR RR Coach Still in Service
Now three-score years young, the last CR RR passenger coach is still in active service. The valuable relic of a nostalgic era was leased for the summer season to the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad for use on its Marquette and Huron Mountain tourist line near Presque Isle.
The 1904 vintage coach accommodates 62 passengers and has room for two old-time passenger car wood stoves. The seats are of old-fashioned plush and were transferred to the coach from former CR RR coach No. 51.
Transfer of coach No. 60 (Stated as #50 in the article, but not correct), as it is listed, was effected from the roundhouse in Houghton to the Lake Superior and Ishpeming Railroad by way of the South Shore Line transfer at Houghton and the Soo Line. As far as is known, this is probably the first such trip this coach has made in its 60-year life, and its arrival in the Big Bay area marked the first visit of the coach to the Huron Mountain area.
The following story appeared in Volume 11 Number 4, Winter 1971-72 issue
Charles Sincock Retires
After devoting more than 47 years of service to the Copper Range Railroad, Charles
S. Sincock reached the end of an active railroad career September 30. He retired as vice
president - operations, a position he had held since 1959. Starting as a freight clerk in
the Houghton yard March 20, 1927, Charlie, as he was affectionately known to all his
associates, learned all phases of the operations. In 1946 he bacame superintendent of the
line, served as assistant secretary of the corporation during 1958-59 and on June 18, 1959
was elected a director. He will continue in that capacity.
Charlie Sincock experienced many changes during his 47 years of railroading on the Copper Range line. From a heavy schedule of freight and passenger trains during his earlier years, the business has now declined to the point where the CR Railroad has received from the Interstate Commerce Commission permission for abandonment.
In recognition of his long years of loyal service, Charlie was presented a suitably engraved time-piece.
The story appeared in Volume 9 Number 1, January 1969 issue. The photo shows COPR 4013 as it appeared from the Factory. It was painted in orange in 1964.
When you have had to stop at a railroad crossing to let a freight
train roll by, have you ever wondered why the train was made up of cars from so many
different railroads? Perhaps by relating the recent itinerary of one typical Copper Range
Railroad car, some light will be thrown on this subject. Before embarking upon such an
armchair trip though, a bit of background information might add to its interest.
Most general service cars, such as boxes, gondolas, hoppers and flat cars, are graded according to nine different classes as established by the Association of American Railroads. The classes are determined by the age and condition of the car. Users of another line's cars pay the owners the daily rates called for by the classes into which the cars fall. For example, a class 9 car is a new one with modern refinements and calls for a daily fee of $12.18. Cars belonging to the CRRR fall into class 1 or 2 and carry a use rate of $2.16 or $2.79 for a 24-hour period beginning at midnight.
Tank or refrigerator cars, as well as others having special equipment, are paid for by the number of miles they travel, either loaded or empty. The rates the using railroads pay the owners are based on the type, age and value of the cars and vary from six-tenths of a cent to 9 cents a mile.
Every time one railroad turns off-line cars over to the custody of another railroad, a report is mailed to the owners. Each railroad periodically sends a statement of all off-line, or foreign, carrs it has used to the owners. Then the owners draw bank drafts according to the amounts shown on the statements.
If a car is in need of repairs during off-line use, the railroad using it has the repairs made at rates established by the AAR, and a draft is drawn to cover repair costs.
The Copper Range Railroad has 32 off-line cars, which are crisscrossing various sections of the country most of the time. To issustrate just how there off-line cars are hauled about the country, the CRRR records received from user lines were examined. The car bearing the designation COPR 4013 (Copper Range) was selected as an example.
The records revealed that this car, COPR 4013, was loaded with lumber at Twin Lakes, about 20 miles southwest of Houghton, last February for shipment to Goshen, Indiana. It rolled but a short distance on CR tracks. Then, COPR 4013 was transfered..
|Milwaukee Road||Feb. 16||McKeever, Mich|
|New York Central||Feb. 22||Delmar, Ill.|
|Rock Island RR||Mar. 21||Chicago, Ill.|
|Northern Pacific||Mar. 23||Minneapolis, Minn.|
|Duluth, Messabe & Iron Range||Apr. 30||Duluth, Minn.|
|Milwaukee Road||May 10||Duluth, Minn.|
|Indian Harbor Belt||June 3||Franklin Park, Ill.|
|Chesapeake & Ohio||June 10||Indianapolis, Ind.|
|Canadian Pacific||June 12||Detroit, Mich.|
|Maine Central||June 22||St. Johnsbury, Vt.|
|Canadian Pacific||June 28||St. Johnsbury, Vt.|
|Chesapeake & Ohio||July 6||Detroit, Mich.|
|Chicago & Northwestern||July 9||Chicago, Ill.|
|Missouri Pacific||July 13||Valley Junction, Ill.|
|National Railway of Mexico||July 19||Laredo, Tex.|
So far as is known, COPR 4013 is still seeing service in Mexico. But some day 4013 will find its way back to the Copper Range Railroad yards in Houghton and , it is hoped, not much the worse for its travels.
This story appeared in the August 1963, volume 3, number 8 issue.
Old Atlantic Sands yield again.
Shown here is the dragline hoisting stamp sands from the old Atlantic Mill site on Portage Lake to Copper Range Railroad cars for haulage to Freda Mill. In the background is the U.S. Park Service boat, Ranger III, on a trip to Isle Royale National Park.
Historically the unique properties of Lake Copper have given it a rather special position in the world copper markets. In recent years this unique properties, combined with continual research for new uses for the red metal, have created an increased demand for Lake Copper. In its search for new ways to supply this demand, the Copper Range Company is experimenting with the reclamation of copper from the stamp sands left from operations at the old Atlantic Mill site on Portage Lake,
The old Atlantic Mill, built early in the 1860's and ceased operations completely in 1895. As might be expected, this mill used primitive tools and processes; mine rock was processed by the old stamp, jig and table methods. Through considerable copper extracted from the rock, much remained that left the mill through the lake launder. Now, however, the modern flotation process makes it possible for these stamp sands to yield copper ecomonically,
A trainload of Atlantic sands on their way to Freda Mill via the Copper Range Railroad. Conductor Harold Eilola sees where he's been from the platform, and Nels Swanson keeps track of the scenery from the caboose roof.
For several years sands from the Atlantic and Baltic Mills at Redridge supplied a sufficient amount of copper to justify their being transported to Freda for processing. Lately, however, tests by CR assayist Richard Benbow show that these sands can no longer provide enough return for the effort necessary to extract the copper. For this reason the company has turned to the sands left at the original Atlantic Mill site on the banks of Portage Lake, west of the Bosch Brewery.
The Gregoire Construction Company of Lake Linden has contracted to load the Atlantic sands into railroad cars for shipment by rail to Freda Mill. About twenty rail cars are shipped daily, seven days a week. The mill is now operating on a 50-50 basis, half mine rock from Painesdale and half sands from the old mill sites.
The reclaiming of these sands from the old Atlantic Mill site has a two-fold benefit. Primarily, of course, it gives the company a chance to continue full operations at Freda Mill. This helps meet the increasing demand for Lake Copper. Secondarily, but still important, the reclamation of these sands aids in the deepening and widening of the lake channel, which means easier navigation from the larger ships using it.
Company officials keep a watchful eye on sampling results to determine whether or not the reclamation of Atlantic Mill site stamp sands is paying. Thus far, results look encouraging, This is evident throughout the mill and diggings as the men go about their work with zest in the hope that the mill will continue profitably for all concerned for many years.
Appeared in the January 1964, Volume 4 Number 1 Issue.
All Aboard for Winona Mine
(Sing to the tune of "Sweet Betsey from Pike")
When the church bells rang and a shrill whistle blew
Every grown-up and child in Houghton town knew
The Big Day had dawned for the Copper Range line
That December morn in the year '99.
The train was a-waiting on the brand-new track;
Black smoke was a-pouring from the engine's stack;
The engine a-pantin', the firebox aglow,
A five-man crew, all a-rarin' to go.
"All aboard! Next stop is Winona Mine."
And that was the start of the Copper Range line.
The train, in all truth, was an unusual sight;
A small locomotive - railmen called it "light",
A made-over freight car, a trailing caboose.
But everybody cheered and yelled, "Turn her loose".
Jim James, at the throttle, all eager to run,
Awaited the signal to give her the gun.
The crowd became silent, and nobody stirred.
Only the wheeze of the engine was heard.
Then a roar, "We're a-rollin' to Winona Mine",
And that was the start of the Copper Range line.
The newly laid track was uneven and rough;
The ballast unfinished, the going real tough,
The train rolled and teetered with it, cried, "Comfort be hanged!"
So over the hills and through valleys they sped.
With the whistle a-tootin', a clear track ahead,
Jim James, engineer, gave her full power;
The train reached its peak at ten miles per hour.
It took less than three hours to Winona Mine
That day at the start of the Copper Range line.
Some oldsters in Houghton still tell the tale
The travel by stage on the old wagon trail
Filled with boulders and rottening logs.
Teams sank to their withers in bottomless bogs.
Steep hills, sharp cliffs, dark forests around,
The road lay in shadow. No movement, no sound.
There were deep frozen ruts when winter began
And cold that could freeze dumb creature or man.
Small wonder that folks bound for Winona Mine
Jammed that first train on the Copper Range line.
Appeared in the August 1964, Volume 4 Number 7 Issue.
Enlarged Twin Lakes State Park Dedicated
More than 7,000 persons attended the dedication of the Twin Lakes State Park into the Michigan Park system. Highlighting the ceremony, held at the park in mid-July, was the presentation of a deed for 150 acres of CR land for the enlargement of the park and a brief history of the Twin Lakes recreational area by CR Vice President William P. Nicholls.
The original 22-acre site was given by CR to Houghton County in February, 1928, with the provision in the deed that "the premises shall be used as a public park and playground and for no other purposes whatsoever". Several years ago, however, increased use of the facility brought the realization that fuller use could be made of the park if it were incorporated into the state park system.
Negotiations between Copper Range and the Michigan State Conservation Department led to an exchange agreement whereby CR deeded 150 acres of land adjoining the smaller site to the state for use as a public park. The actual presentation was made by Mr. Nicholls in behalf of CR President, Dr. James Boyd to Glenn Gregg, Michigan Conservation Department Regional Manager, at the dedication ceremony.
In his remarks, Mr. Nicholls stated that, "Copper Range Company has never posted its lands, and looks with favor on having its more than 300 square miles in the Upper Peninsula used for the recreation of the public."
This story appeared in the December 1967, volume 7, number 12 issue.
The end of an era
Raymond Durocher, master mechanic at Freda blows the siren at 7 a.m. Saturday, November 4, signalling the end of the shift.... the end of all shifts, ater 67 years of processing rock from Painesdale.
Seen from left are: William P. Nicholls, CR vice President; Ferris R. Dennis, chairman; Helmuth M. Steinhilb, secretary; and Clifford F. Paulson, Townshop supervisor and Village President.
Stillness settled over the Copper Range mill at Freda November 4th when it ceased operations. Built in 1900 Freda was the last to cloase of five stamp mills that had flourished in nearby lake shore towns since before the turn of the century.
Switching at Dollar Bay, this train crew, from left, consists of Ralph Hurley and Harold Eilola, trainmen; Joe LaBelle, engineman; Cy LaBissoniere, conductor; and Brad Merrill, engineman.
More to come as time permits, so check back again.......
Brought to you by the Copper Range Railroad and Copper Country Historical Homepage and Pasty.com