|Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc.
During the years 1899 and 1900 the Copper Range Company began to develop the Champion mine. The humble beginnings of Painesdale began as a tent town, not unlike many other mining communities in the Keweenaw. The only permanent structure in the photo was most likely a boarding house. The area in the center appears to be the beginning of one of the four shafts to plunge into the Baltic lode below Painesdale. Most likely at what would become Champion #3. It must have been something to see small children running around the camp and woman (large group to the right) discussing the days events amist the construction of the mine.
The photo was probably taken during the summer of 1900, It is interesting to realize that someone was out making postcards of things like this and most likely selling them in Painesdale and surrounding communities. This postcard was postmarked August 2 in Painesdale, but the year is not visible. As the Painesdale Post Office opened in March of 1901, I would assume that this one was sent in August of 1901 as the letter states "A view of our camp. This was taken when our small tents were up. We now have large tents, only a couple show". From a gentlemen named Neil, probably sent home to either his mother or his wife in Grand Rapids. (Photo from the Kevin Musser Collection)
If you have a memory of Painesdale
PM&S, Inc. wants to hear about your memories of Champion #4 or life in Painesdale.
Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. is collecting your memories of Champion #4 and what life was like in Painesdale. If you worked for the Champion Mine or grew up in Painesdale during the copper mining era and have an interesting story to share, please write us so that we can add your memory to our scrapbook. As we develop our site into a museum, we hope to display your memory along side others so that future generations can read about the people that lived and toiled in Painesdale. In the end, history is more than just shafthouses and copper rock, it's about the people that made it all happen. If you are one of those people, please write us at the above address or e-mail works just fine.
Send us your Champion Copper / Copper Range story via e-mail to PM&S and have your story posted here on this Web page.
Your story here?
A Shaft of Memories by A Coal Miner's Daughter
Portrait of Cesare Cappo, By Annette Cappo Butina
The Day and Life of a Miner
What do we know about the man, from Baltic. Kind hearted, hard-working, caring, and a family man is how I would describe him. His hands had 51 years of work at Copper Range. His legacy included Timber Gang, Trammer boss, Shift boss, then his well known position as Safety boss. Cesare was a very fair and just man and with his well known safety record, men always looked up to him. He insured that his men would be safe where they were working or he would not allow them to go in. Cesare designed a safety board that had many of the extra tools that a miner might need in an emergency. He received a picket knife as a token of appreciation from Copper Range for his safety record. One story told is that there was a cave in, Cesare took some men with him and they dug until their hands bled to free the trapped miners.
The love of Cesare's life was his wife of 52 years, Jenny, and his children Anna, Joe, Maria, Fr. Louis, Caesar and Gene. As his family has grown, Cesare has welcomed the births of numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. I was only eleven months old when he passed away, but my parents told me that he always called me Bala which is Italian for beautiful.
Cesare was also known for his gardening. Copper Range would have a contest in the communities of Balitc, Painesdale, Trimountain and Atlantic Mine. The Baltic group had some pretty stiff competition. The Smith's, Verran's, Perfetti's, Cucci's and Raffaelli's. Captain Smith, Cesare's neighbor, would play tricks on one another as they would attempt to out do getting the largest tomato, by tying one to the plant, but that never stopped the rivalry or the friendship.
Cesare passed away on December 24, 1964, but his legacy lives on in the Painesdale Mine and in the hearts of his family.
A photo from "down in the mine" taken approximately 1936 in Painesdale.
From left to right:
Unknown, Rudolph Suokas, unknown, unknown, unknown, unknown, Richard Kauppi, Peter Suokas.
Rudolph was my uncle, Richard was my great-grandfather and Peter was my grandfather, relates Mark Suokas, who passed along this photo. Thanks for sharing it Mark. Can anyone recognize any of the others?
Memories of Painesdale
My grandfather now deceased was the depot agent and chief telegrapher for about 20 or more years I think for the CRR in Painesdale.
Unfortunately there are no photographs or artifacts around that I know of. I would have to try a get my father to recall somethings that you wanted to know about. His memory is failing.
I do remember that he talked about a barber by the name of Billy Tieg that lived next store to him. Also a story of going down into one of the mines with a friend exploring and not coming up until very, very late on a Sunday, for which he really caught hell.
My fathers name is Howard Carl Bentz. My grandfathers name was John or Carl Bentz.
Sincerley, Orrin H. Bentz
Have read with great interest the stories about the Champion Mine and poignant memories shared by many who lived in Painesdale. As a child I lived with my grandparents on Baltic Street for a period during the war when my parents were working in Detroit. They lived there for 45 years. My grandfather, Nestor Sastamoinen, left Finland at age 19 and worked in the copper mines his entire life, and worked at Champion for many years. I can remember grandma filling up his lunch bucket to take to work and the best part was that he always brought something left over from lunch for me. I, too, remember the little candy store, Taro's, in Painesdale. As a matter of fact, whenever my husband and I return during our summer vacation, we always drive around town to visit these places that bring such fond memories back to me.
Sincerely, Shirley Laurin
An early view of Painesdale
Our teacher would have to walk to and from school from Trimountain. I used
I will always remember those few years I spent in Painesdale. They were
Sincerely, Thomas Cernek.
My mother and dad,both born and raised in Painesdale. I spent many a
Sincerely William Jose
We lived in E-Location near the mining office and the shaft, my father ran the "skip". I have fond memories of sitting inside the shaft building watching the miners coming back from working underground...they liked to tease me by telling me they would take me down that big black hole!!! I used to love it when my sisters would take me to the "dam" swimming with their friends in the summer,it was my job to check everyone for blood suckers and pull them off ....I now know that was the only reason I was invited along!!! My Aunt Ida Chapman lived next door to us and kept cows, sold milk ,kept chickens and had a huge garden all this while raising 6 boys , she was of Finnish descent ,but made the best Cornish pasties I 've ever eaten.. She was the hardest working lady I've ever known. We moved to Houghton in 1948 when the mine closed and I finished High School there after the harsh dicipline of the Jeffers, Houghton High was like heaven~ !
Charlotte Chapman McManus
In one of the stories on the "Painesdale Memories " Web page, mention is made
by the Bentz family about a barber named Billy Tieg. That barber is my grandfather who
lived in Painesdale for over sixty years. Grandfather's name was Jimmy Teague. He came to
Painesdale in 1906 after working at his trade in Calumet. Grandfather was born in Redruth,
England and immigrated to America in 1902. When he came to America he went to Calumet
where his brother, WIlliam, worked for Calumet and Hecla. In 1920 Grandpa bought the
already existing Painesdale barber shop from a man named Archie Salvo. Grandpa married
Wilhelmina Spurr. Willa, as she was known, was born not far from Painsdale at Atlantic
Mine. . Both Grandma and Grandpa have passed away, but are survived by their two
daughters, Clara and Ruth. Clara, (my mother), was born in Trimountain Hospital, Ruth was
born in Painesdale. Both attended Jeffers H. S.
P.S. I've asked my Aunt Ruth Cleary to look over my story for accuracy. She has added
her own memories
More photos from James Gourd at the Keweenaw Photoshop
The Dally-Jane Murders in Painesdale during the Copper Strike of 1913-14
Kenneth Nicholson was 4 years old at the time of the murders but still remembers it plainly and relates his story to us.
Check out a story in the CR News on the closure of Painesdale and Freda.
Copper Range box cars in the shadow of #4, now just a memory
(These cars were not owned by PM&S and they were destroyed as scrap for a few dollars,
only your help can help us save the rest, before it is too late.)
This page is brought to you by Kevin Musser
This page hosted and supported by www.pasty.com