Tuesday, February 26, 2013

C&H Semi-Centennial Publication and It's Ads.

A cool publication! It's called the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company Semi- Centennial and it was released for the years 1866-1916. It profiled lots of cool info about C&H and the lands that it controlled and the people that worked there and in the communities.  It has lots of great ads from local businesses that used to be in Calumet, Mohawk, Kearsarge, Lake Linden, and Larium. Businesses like cigar shops, candy shops, breweries, furniture stores, and custom tailoring. Its great to see some of these businesses still around, and others are only now left to our imaginations. But with these ads and profiles of local businessmen, we can more easily imagine them and the seemingly romantic, old times of The Copper Country and the boom times that gave us what we have left of it.

Below I took a few pictures of just a few ads I liked. Sorry about some of the blurry pictures. Hope you enjoy anyways!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Contribution from Lynette Webber: The Story of Nanny Jane Gray

Yesterday, I was contacted by Lynette Webber who said she had a story to share, and we love stories and contributions to this blog from everyone, so I was excited to share it! It is a great account, not only of a specific woman of the times, but many of the little stories and memories shared here remind me of my great grandmother and stories she told me, and I'm positive that the stories of Nanny Jane Gray will remind you of your elders as well, and for that we can thank Lynette for sharing this with us.
Here it is:

"Here's an old family story of the Cornish on the Copper and Iron ranges."
  • NANNY JANE GRAY by Lynette Webber
    Nannie Jane Gray was born to a Cornish mining family shortly after their arrival in the US in Ishpeming, MI in 1866. Her life was full of trials, while her attitude provided the ultimate in tribulations. She was satisfied with her very full time on Earth. The following storieswere told by her granddaughter, Eunice, in the early 1990s.
    When she was young Jane attended school in Hancock, MI. She could see the sailing ships while she sat on the hillside overlooking the Portage Waterway between Hancock and Houghton, which cuts the Copper Country in half. She remembered her father, Benjamin, trading horses with the Indians there. She was afraid, so she would hide under the bed when they came to do business. Mother Mary Gray ran a rooming house in Hancock for a time, later in Ishpeming, where daughters Jane and Linda met their future husbands, Joseph Webb and William Paynter. Mother Gray also had rooming houses in Wakefield and Bessemer. The building in Bessemer still stands on the street across from the Lutheran Church - a big brown two-story, next to Velin's house, by the Methodist Church.
    Joseph and Jane Webb lived in a small company house near the First and Last Chance Saloon (where the cave-in is now). Once Joe was very late in coming home so she went to the saloon and sat in a chair in the middle of the dance floor and broke up the dance. Baby Benjamin died in that small house when he was only a few months old. He was the second child. Mary (Maude) first, then Flora Mae, Eunice Vera, Erma Gladys, and George Daniel.
    When Maude was a teenager they lived in town on Main Street above a saloon. To sneak out at night, Maude pounded nails in the wall, outside her window, leading to an outside stairway so she could climb down - don't know how long she got away with it.
    Later the family moved into a "Barber House," in the Ironton (mining location near Bessemer, MI) next door to the Trevarthen family, whom had many children and together they enjoyed lots of family parties. When Erma was going to nursing school at Michigan University along with the Macfarlan girl, Jane Webb sewed all their nursing uniforms and their regular long dresses and coats.
    Joseph Webb died of miners' consumption in 1918. Jane Webb then had to live with her married children. Around that time George Webb went to U of M but failed out. He then went to Detroit, where Erma was living, and had a gas station and a dry cleaning business until he died at age 80.
    Jane earned a living as a peddler of fabrics and patent medicines, soaps, salves, liniments, etcetera from the Sayman’s Co. and Mitchell & Church Fabrics. Her orders would come to the freight office in Bessemer and we would haul the boxes home to be sorted, then she would deliver them around the mining locations. I remember helping haul bags up the back roads by the Tourist Park to Anvil and Mrs. Bridges’ house. My son-in-law's mother says she remembers Jane Webb coming to their house in Puritan.
    Jane liked to crochet, sew, do jigsaw puzzles, draw birds and play the piano. She cooked an excellent pasty and Christmas plum pudding boiled in a white cloth and full of beef suet and raisins. She drank green tea because it was not fermented, ate onion sandwiches to prevent colds, loved fresh oranges, and hated booze and drunkards. That is why I never drank or smoked. She stayed with us most of the time.
    In the 1930s we all lived in a new apartment building on Linwood Ave. in Detroit where I started kindergarten. When the depression deepened and my dad lost his job at Detroit Edison, we all moved to Verona to Aunt Mabel's farm up by the fire tower where the ski lodge is now. Eunice remembered, "A wintertime when my school bus to Verona grade school was a buslike body on sleigh runners with a pot belly stove inside for warmth, benches running along the sides and holes under the windshield where the reins to the 2 horses were. I cannot recall the long walk down from the farmhouse to the road in all that snow, maybe Joe Weston helped me. I spent the first and second grade in Verona then lived on Colby Hill in Bessemer."
    "Jane slipped on the wooden sidewalk there on Second Avenue and broke her leg. I cried and cried. Mrs. Vermustic across the street brought over the best-tasting chicken soup! She was Shirley, Jack and Elaine's mom."
    "In the 1940s during World War II Jane lived in the house at 1610 S. Hadley alone for a while when we were in Detroit doing war work. After the war I came back and she had a party for my marriage to Bill Borowski May 14, 1946, and then she died quietly May 28, 1946, at the age of 80. Flora Mae was there, she lived just down Hadley street in Jane's former house in Ironton (or perhaps the house move was later)."
    She was a lady of grace, kindness, and self assurance. She was always singing church hymns, spreading the joy and strength that can only come with a true pioneering spirit.
    Nanny (her birth name) Jane Gray Webb

    Joseph Webb (her husband)
    Daughter Maude with her son Buster, who would be murdered in the 1930's.

    Nanny Jane and her children


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

For Clarence

This post is a little late, but better late than never. I just thought maybe we should all (if you haven't already) say good bye to a Copper Country icon, Clarence Monette. I met him a few times and he was always extremely pleasant and generous. A couple months or so before he passed away I had meant to stop and visit him. He had said he had been working on a new book, but regrettably I never paid the visit. Now, of course, I wish I had.

Perhaps where many of us go wrong in learning about the past is the shyness we sometimes have toward elders. Maybe it's that they are wiser than us and some where deep down we fear being humbled, or that we do not want to bring up pasts that they have left behind on purpose? Maybe we just don't know where to start with the asking. What ever it is, ASK! This is my view from here on out.

Thanks to Clarence, He was able to pass his knowledge through his (over 50, I believe) written books about this area. Thanks to him hundreds and maybe thousands of people of every age and gender will be touched by the importance of this historical place. People will read about where they live, lived, grew up, whether it be one book or all of them, and the history that built this place will go on, unlike the histories of so many other places that have been lost over time. I know that I, for one,was inspired and am still inspired, and I would like to say thank you.

And now it is important to recognize that it is with our generations that history relies on to keep living. If we can touch peoples lives the way Clarence did, whether it be opening their eyes to the past or showing them kindness and a smile, this world might be a better a place.

Below are links for his obituary, and an online source for his books if you don't live locally.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Then and Now! A Chassell Area Gas Station/ Store!

Outside of Chassell there is a small ex-store front looking building. And we found old pictures of it! It was once a gas station and a store called (from what I can read in the old picture) Kallienen's Store! You can notice the original Highway in the "now" picture still being used as a drive way. Very little has been changed in this new picture, which makes it cool to be able to see how connected to a lot of these old places we really are, whether its where you live and work everyday, or some where you just happen to be passing by once in a while.

A pretty cool thing to think about the next time you take that long, boring drive to Baraga!

 Hope you enjoy!

If you have any memories or stories from places like these, please share! We are always interested to hear them!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Opening Day!

     The Copper Country, to me, is set aside from other regions for many reasons. We can't deny that few places on earth are as beautiful, historical, and undisturbed my man. The people here have deep running roots, and many of these roots will keep us here, like a stubborn tree, until we die. Although the economy is rotten everywhere, here it has not been the same since the mining days, yet we go on. We find our own ways to be happy, and we don't find our selves needing the same sort stability it seems people need or want in other places or other walks of life. More often than not, if the subject is brought up, you will find a declaration of, "we may not have much, but we've got enough and we're happy here" accompanied by a smile and thought of true, simple living in a beautiful place surrounded by family and friends.

    Which brings up another reason this place is a little different. Traditions. And speaking of family and friends, one of the greatest traditions about this place, is hunting season. The true sign of fall. The red, orange, and yellow leaves that filter and color the light of the sun that casts down through the forest like one of those stained glass things your mom used to hang on the window above the kitchen sink. Just the slight coloration of light can change an entire environment, maybe not in a scientific sort of way, but surely a spiritual way. Perhaps this bird season, you will spend it thinking of great grandparents, grandparents and parents who also spent their fall days with a shotgun, maybe not even shooting birds but truly enjoying nature and good company. After all, I love shooting and the feeling of a successful hunting trip, but that is not what hunting (up here at least, in my opinion) is about.
Perhaps this bird season you will go a little deeper. Perhaps you be in pursuit of the bird you flushed, and become so involved, you forget. I encourage it. Get side tracked. Discover and explore old hunting camps and ruins. Take that walk under the stained glass trees and find something as simple as a shed antler, or something as deep, old and hidden there as ghosts and gods.

Have a safe and happy hunting season.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

One of a kind Photos! (Part 2)

A piece of particular interest for those interested in local brewing history (such as myself)!!!!

Fact: The baby playing with a bowl does not matter.
What DOES matter is this: The slim odds of ALSO capturing an image of this homemade wagon made from a Haas Brewing Company case?!! Wow!

Monday, July 16, 2012

One of a kind photos! (Part 1)

This past weekend I went to a garage sale and found a collection of family photos. I quickly shuffled through them and saw some cool ones so I figured I'd take the gamble and buy them. After all, maybe there would be that one photo that made buying the whole lot worth it. Well, There were many that made it worth it. Some of these photos are the coolest pictures of the old Copper Country, old street cars, gas stations, picnics, Isle Royale and The Ranger! Over the next couple days or weeks or so I will continue to post some of the photos I have selected. It is a little sad to have family photos belonging to someone else, but through them we can see The Copper Country through one more set of eyes! And how awesome it is to see old pictures you have never seen of things and places you walk every day!

Here is the first photo. It is very small. Only about 1.75inches tall by 2.75 inches wide. It seems to be a little mini post card/ souvenir from The Koivisto Service Station in Chassell, Mi. It may just be another gas station, but its also a little piece of the people's everyday lives!

Hope you enjoy, and keep looking on for the next photos I'll post from this series of amazing old pictures!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Garage Sale FInd!!!

      Last year I found this photo at a garage sale! The lady there sold it to me for $1!!! It was in pretty rough shape, glued to a piece of Styrofoam, was pressed into a sheet of plastic, and the pieces of it were falling off and ripping. I removed all that junk, put it into a plastic sleeve and finally just scanned it so I can print a copy to hang on the wall.

      The picture shows the old Copper Range Depot down on the Houghton water front next to the bridge. The Depot shown is now owned by the Aspirus Health group (I think) and houses doctors offices. I like the old wooden board walk heading up to where the old bridge used to be. AND of course you have to love the train, the clothes, and the Copper Range sign on the buidling that no longer stands.
Sometimes looking at pictures like this is like looking at pictures of a whole other place completely!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, July 9, 2012

An Awesome Postcard!!!

       I was looking around online for pictures of the old St. Joseph's Hospital and found this on some random website that sells old postcards for unjustifiable prices. Either way, I had to share it, and the awesome depiction of a view and section of town that is not easy to find in old pictures. Most of the buildings here, except of course the St. Josephs Hospital itself, are still standing. And some that stand there now, hadn't been built yet

       The corner of the cemetery that is seen in the lower left corner is now the parking lot for The Church of Resurrection. The cemetery was moved a couple miles down the lake shore to where it is now on a peaceful little field on the big hill by Swedetown crick. I believe its called the Lakeside Cemetery. In the other corner is, I think where the nuns/ nurses lived and possibly the St. Joseph's nursing school was also there.That building still stands and has doctors offices in it.
       The picture was taken from the new St. Joseph's Hospital (now the Finlandia University ISAD) which construction began on in 1950.

       Unfortunately, the original St. Joseph's Hospital is another beautiful building that was demolished and is now a gravelly, unused parking lot. The furnace buiding located behind it still stands, along with the many fences and small prayer areas that reside across the alley. You can find there much evidence of an old park. Pieces of a broken wall, and a door in the wall that opens to an area that the grounds keeper once stored tools in, a still useable stairway and one unusable stairway, once beautiful rot iron fences, along with a small shrine to the virgin mary, some small path ways, and an assortment of vines, small plants, and under brush that were once cared for but are now taken back by nature. As a child I had been there and was afraid of it. It just felt creepy, but I returned a few years ago, felt the same shiver but went down to investigate. I found that the view of the canal and the old broken stones and fences made it rather peaceful. That things there were not creepy, but I think I was able to sense that this place is not how it is supposed to be seen. To really see it I had to go down into it.  

         It cannot be explained in words but once you are there, its not hard to imagine it when it was cared for and visited regularly as a place of reflection and prayer by nuns, and a place for visitors and patients alike to pray in times of tragedy or celebration. Perhaps, these prayers and emotions remain there still. Perhaps just because it has been forgotten and not cared for over the years makes it no less of a place of reflection, or where one can go to be in touch with certain things that are larger than those around us or the everyday activities that we find ourselves so enthralled in (such as work and stress), that we actually think that they are truly more important than swimming on a hot day, talking with friends, or looking at something small and normal and finding something deeper you never realized had been there all along.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the postcard.