January 2004 Photo (Champion #2, Painesdale)

The CopperRange.org Discussion Board: Featured Photo of the Month: January 2004 Photo (Champion #2, Painesdale)
By Kevin E. Musser (Admin) ( on Thursday, January 01, 2004 - 10:06 pm:

This month we feature the photos of Jim Gourd. Jim passed along a nice group of photos as well as a very nice recollection from himself and from his aunt of life in Painesdale. Jim is the grandson of James Teague the Painesdale barber for many years, 59 to be exact. The photo above is from a postcard in his collection. Check out Jim's family story, as well as many other family memories, at the Painesdale Mine & Shaft Memory page and his collection of photos at the Keweenaw Photoshop. Thank you Jim for sharing with all of us.

One very interesting detail in the photo above is the appearance of a Copper Range Railroad Section House and tool shed at the far right as well as something I am unable to identify, on the left side of this photo. It appears to be a trestle, maybe unfinished or a place to dump something, not sure what. My Sanborn maps stop short of these structures. Anyone have any guesses? Pass them along on the Discussion Board.

By chris gleason ( on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 12:01 am:

my guess for the mystery item would have to be a pile of full size sectional track (I have many of these on my layout that are waiting to be laid). seriously, I think a trestle is a good guess (as you can see the cross pieces underneath). Maybe this was used to unload coal?

By Ron Sibilsky ( on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 9:35 am:

Hi Kevin I sure enjoy the Copper Range web site. I have been checking in almost daily. I was born and raised in the Copper Country. I lived in Hurtotown and graduated from Houghton High School in 1957. The Copper Range Railroad was part of my life as my Dad worked part time for the railroad when I wAS growing up. As a child I remember riding on the restored Copper Range 60. We got to go to the company picnic at Twin Lakes Park. The train left Houghton and took the families to the park for the day and returned. If my memory is correct, No.29 steam locomotive pulled the passenger cars. That was my first experience with a train ride. My mother passed away in June, 2002. We found a large box of old photos in her home. Most are of the Hurontown and Isle Royale Mine area. If you are interested in them for your site, I will get them from my brother and make arrangements with you to put them on the Copper Range web site. Thanks for the interesting and well done history of the Copper Range. I was unable to get thru on your web site, so this is my way of touching base. Ron Sibilsky

By kevin musser ( on Friday, January 02, 2004 - 12:56 pm:

Ron, I would be happy to feature your photos. You should be able to contact me via email at "kevinmusser@copperrange.org" Thanks in advance for your offer. Kevin

By Diana Haynes ( on Monday, January 05, 2004 - 2:23 am:

Hi! I happen to live in Mass City, Michigan and I also tend bar at the famous Rousseau Bar! I just stumbled across your website and wanted to say it is very interesting! The photos are great! Keep up the good work! Working in the business district of Rousseau......Diana

By Jim Fisher ( on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 12:45 pm:

I would like to hazard a guess that the mystery area in your Jan.'04 photo was used for domestic coal received in carload lots. I believe it was sold very cheaply to employees every winter. This would be loaded to the left of the trestle. Periodically, some would be loaded into a (gondola?) car on the short spur to the right and distributed for use in station and caboose stoves etc. Boiler coal was used in huge quantities and handled differently. The Q & T L had a domestic coal facility similar to this, in the large coal storage area southwest of #2 shaft. Incoming coal (pea?) would be dumped, passed through a primitive screening apparatus, if necessary, and could then be re-loaded into vehicles or narrow gage cars for distribution. This hints at a possible solution to the problem of how to provide for incoming coal on a narrow gage layout if you lack the space and stamina to build a 300' square coal dock.

By kevin musser ( on Thursday, January 08, 2004 - 7:27 pm:

Interesting Jim, One question, from the photo it appears that the distance between the unloading ramp and the spur is excessive, at least further than you could throw a shovel full of coal. Do you know how they unloaded and re-loaded onto the gon's? Did they have a portable loader that fit between these two points? Thanks for the posting.

By Jacob Hugart ( on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 5:52 pm:

Under enhancement in Photoshop, you can tell that the mystery structure is a wooden trestle with track on it, a spur from the line behind it. So it was probably there for dumping materials from hoppers - coal? sand? cement?

By Jacob Hugart ( on Thursday, June 16, 2005 - 5:53 pm:

Do you have any photos of the Isle Royale mine in Houghton? It seems to be next to impossible to find any online.

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