The Discussion Board: Save the Redridge Dam: Investigating
By CindyM on Monday, February 11, 2002 - 9:17 am:

We have latched onto a bit of mystery that may be helpfull to our project. In Clarence Monette's book on Redridge he makes the comment that the wood dam was drained and repaired in November 1953 by Copper Range workmen. We are attempting to locate details of this repair, another trip to Tech Archives to search the CR records and maybe the Mining Gazette. Perhaps they left us a gift under there that we are not even aware of.... like a third dam of poor rock behind the wood! This may be far fetched, but *something* is causing the center of that dam to stay straight while the sides are falling in, and that doesnt make sense considering all the water flowing thru the middle!

We have asked a friend who does diving if he would be willing, and he said yes, in the summer- that water is COLD! Funny, it seems real warm at the mouth when you are swimming in Superior!! Cindy

By Marc on Tuesday, February 12, 2002 - 3:58 am:

This is the kind of thing that seismic or ground-penetrating radar surveys could very helpful with. It's highly likely that with water flow through the dam, any structure we would like to be able to see, has been buried in sand and silt and would need to be imaged, geophysically. I'll drop a line to my old geophysics prof and let him know of this twist. It sonds like something he would love to investigate. Heck, I'm more than a little curious already, myself!
Also, how did that Wed township meeting you mentioned, go?

By CMiller on Tuesday, February 12, 2002 - 10:27 am:

Hi Marc, hows the Gulf? nice an warm I bet!

Now you are way out of my range- could these things show us just whats under there? Where the holes are? If there are still pipes in place? That would be very cool, especially if it doesnt turn out to be yet another Tech attempt to glom onto our non-existant funds for this project!

The presentation to the Board went very well- we brought them up to date on what we have accomplished so far and were told we have done more in the past couple months than anyone has accomplished in the years this has been a problem. We will keep plugging away at finding funding and keeping the DEQ updated. Yesterday produced a very promising contact!

Meanwhile, we will see what the Archives have for us..... I need to search thru 12pages of brief titles to guess at what CR records might hold the answer- if you were CR, where would you write down that a bazillion tons of mine rock were dumped in behind the wood dam???? At least I know the year! Cindy

By Marc on Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - 1:34 am:

The site itself poses some difficult and unique problems for both seismic and GPR, given that both work best on places where everything is flat and continuous. The results we would see would not be a clear picture of what is there, but a generalized picture, perhaps, if we are lucky. Things like the water, the sloping upstream side and the dam face itself, which will give funny reflections and work to muddy the picture. However, this is just the sort of thing for a class or few students to work on for a project. I already talked ot my prof about doing something in that capacity and the more I think about it, the more I think he won't be able to resist the uniqueness of the site.
If you suspect metal pipes possibly existing, that would easy to determine with a magnetic survey, which will not be effected by the water of terrain. These techniques do not require more than a few days and a few students to perform. Add a few days to crunch the data and a day or so for a report. For sure, anything that would come out of Tech's Geo Dept. would be free of charge.
Tech has a 5 week course in the summer that does a bunch of different surveys just like this, btw. Haven't talked to that prof snce summer might be too late...
As for the CR, who knows. Sounds like a pretty fair size research nightmare:(
Just had a thought, the rock would be mine rock and might be easily detected by it's copper content, geophysically.
Well, I'm off to work. The Gulf is alternating cold and warm as cold fronts keep dipping down. However, I was out in one of our small craft yesterday, working on our in-sea gear. Spent 8 hours out there and got sunburned:)

By Cindy M ( on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 12:02 am:

Not alot to report. Searched the Copper Range Records (some of them anyway!) and found references in cost sheets of work done at the dam but no details. Thinking of asking pastyCam to run this little mystery and see if anyone remembers! We will go back and look again, there was $54.27 charged to "Engineering & Draughting", hopefully that means some engineering records somewhere! (wonder what $5.10 to "Blacksmith Shop" was for???!) there was $394.43 for "Surface Laborers" so something was done! Cindy

By Marc ( on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 1:35 am:

I think asking is an exccellent idea. There are alot of people out there who might remember something or even have their own records. If you like, I can post something on George Hite's Eagle Harbor site and even Keweenaw Now!, to see if we can jog some memories. Good luck in your search!

By Cindy M ( on Tuesday, February 19, 2002 - 12:07 pm:

woo hoo! We made the PastyCam again today! Thanks Charlie!!!

By Jeremy Jordan ( on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 9:24 am:

Just a quick thought, Someone might want to contact Michigan Tech Surveying Dept to see if they have or know of any records of surveys done around the time of the repairs. They might not have any engineering data on the reconstruction, but elevation information might help. The Profs of the dept might also have info as to who might have drawings and documents relating to the dam.
Indrajith Wijayratne (I.D. for Short) from the School of Technology might be able to help.

By lat_long ( on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 5:35 pm:

I'm gonna throw out a guess here:

There's a photo in what looks like a 1951 newspaper clipping at Bob Goniea's Redridge page ( that reveals some internal structural detail of the wooden dam. It appears that the middle portion of the dam was design to allow water to pass freely, while the sides were meant to retain a higher level of water.

Could it be that over time, the sides have experienced more stress than the center section are are simply succombing to fatigue?

By Cindy M ( on Wednesday, February 20, 2002 - 10:16 pm:

lat_long, you could have a point there. Perhaps the spillway protected the center longer from the washing out the sides have experienced- it still spills over the sides more when water is high and the side cribs are pretty empty. The water washes right through the base of the center now though- the spillway is completely gone. Makes me want to hurry before we lose it all...... Cindy

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