November 2004 Photo (Toivola section houses and depot)

The Discussion Board: Featured Photo of the Month: November 2004 Photo (Toivola section houses and depot)
By Kevin E. Musser (Admin) ( on Wednesday, November 03, 2004 - 6:12 am:

Both built in 1900, during the initial development of the Copper Range RR, two Copper Range section houses sit along side the 1908 Toivola Depot. A quite typical view anywhere down south of Houghton on Copper Range. Section houses built every five miles or so housed section workers, the Foreman, his wife and family. Arthur Sampson was one such section foreman who lived with his wife and four children in this seciton house for many years, after living and working at Elm River and Stoneington where the only way in or out was by rail. His wife was not a good cook at first but learned quickly with so many mouths to feed. The I.C.C. report from 1918 states that in additon to these structures there was an 9'x10' tool house and one privy. Over 3000 sq. ft of living space in these buildings and only one outhouse, people sure were patient back then. No Coke machines or Starbucks, I guess One of these section houses still remain today. (Kevin Musser Collection)

By Orv ( on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 9:41 am:

Could someone tell me about the light hanging from that back roof?

By Tim Lab ( on Wednesday, November 30, 2005 - 4:22 pm:

First, I would like to say, "What a great shot of the Toivola station!" For those interested in the light, suspended from the station, it is a Train Order Signal. Please note that there is a flat board suspended below the light and it is parallel to the tracks. It is hard to see at this angle. When the station agent had train orders for a train, the signal would be turned so that the board was crosswise to the tracks. The color of the board and the coresponding lens in the light would be red. In the position shown in the photograph the "red board" is not visable to an approaching train. The lens in the light would be visible, though, and it would be either green or white (clear). This indicated that this station had no orders and the train could proceed, if not otherwise required to stop, such as a passenger train schedule. The Copper Range Rules of the Operating Department, Rule 221 states "A fixed signal must be used at each train-order office, which will indicate "stop" (color red) when trains are to be stopped for train orders. When there are no orders the signal must indicate "proceed" (color green or white). An operator was further advised to turn the signal to "stop" the instant the telegraph began with the numbers 19 or 31, which heralded the beginning of a train order being sent to the station. Those of you more knowledgeable of the train order system will realize that on some roads, trains that had form "19" orders did not have to stop to recieve them. They were simply handed up to the crew by the agent; who stood close to the tracks. They would have received a "proceed with caution signal", which was often a semaphore blade held at a 45 degree angle. This was not part of the Copper Range Operating Procedures. Not a short answer, but it was just making use of those old rule books and a railroad certainly lives by its rules! - Tim Lab

By shawn oday ( on Sunday, February 05, 2006 - 1:31 am:

I wonder what all of those signs on the depot say? Neat picture of the typical UP micro-town scene along the ROW. shawn in wyandotte

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