Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Quincy Smelter Association Announces 
Its 2016 Tour Schedule
The QSA has set the following dates for tours:

June 25th, 2016

July 23rd, 2016

August 6th, 2016

September 10th, 2016

October 1st, 2016

All tours are on Saturdays from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Tours start on the hour with the last tour beginning at 2 PM. Each tour lasts approximately an hour.

Since this is a former industrial site, we recommend wearing closed footware, not sandals, flip flops, etc.

Your experienced guide will lead you through the buildings and the grounds to ensure your safety.

We are an all volunteer organization. We give tours because we enjoy sharing the workings of the smelter and hope you will leave with a better understanding of a small part of America's industrial history.

We are able to provide group tours with advance notice.  
Questions: 906-369-3797

We hope to see you this summer in Houghton and Hancock in the beautiful Keweenaw.

Cost: $5.00 per person
Free to children under 10 with accompanying adult

Quincy Smelter Association (Section 501(c)(3) organization) has an agreement with the owner, Advisory Commission of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.  All proceeds from tours fund the Association's expenses and activities

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

THE COAL DOCK COMES DOWN


By 1930 the nation was in the grips of the Great Depression.  The Quincy Smelter was operating, but slowly decreasing production as orders for copper went lower and the price of copper went below the cost of mining and smelting.  John Chynoweth had been superintendent of the Smelter for about 3 years.  Quincy Mining Company under the leadership of W. Parsons Todd had been struggling through the 1920s to keep the operation going.  Prices never recovered from the highs of World War I.  As a result maintenance costs were always an issue.  The notes from Mr. Chynoweth to W. Parsons Todd are from weekly letters sent to the New York office about Smelter activities.  From such entries one is able to piece together the history of Quincy Smelter.

Go to the URLs beneath the photos to get close ups of the coal dock prior to 1930. Click on the TIFF button for the highest resolution at the Library of Congress website.


Quincy Hill and smelters, Hancock, Mich.

Date Created/Published: c1906 
Coal dock on right

http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994007114/PP/




175.  Photocopied July 1978. (HCHS) VIEW OF QUINCY SMELTER TAKEN FROM ACROSS PORTAGE LAKE. C. 1905. - Quincy Mining Company, Hancock, Houghton County, MI
VIEW OF QUINCY SMELTER TAKEN FROM ACROSS PORTAGE LAKE. C. 1905. - Quincy Mining Company, Hancock, Houghton County, MI
Coal dock in center next to covered over section
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/mi0086.photos.088984p/


173.  Photocopied July 1978. (LGK) WINTER VIEW OF QMC SMELTER (OPENED 1898) AS SEEN FROM HOUGHTON, ACROSS PORTAGE LAKE. C. 1900. - Quincy Mining Company, Hancock, Houghton County, MI


WINTER VIEW OF QMC SMELTER (OPENED 1898) AS SEEN FROM HOUGHTON, ACROSS PORTAGE LAKE. C. 1900.

 Coal dock in front of farthest left chimney
http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/hhh.mi0086.photos.088982p/

4-7-30
As soon as conditions permit we think it advisable to finish dismantling the coal trestle and instead of using our small force on spare time,...better to employ enough men to clean up the job in two weeks and then the gradual filling in process can be made from screened ashes. ...convenient and a cost reducer to have the coal yard filled in level with the coal scales. ...stiff grade to the coal scales [now] and the water is two or three inches deep where the men are working.”

5-5-30
Next week we will start dismantling the coal dock trestle.”

5-20-30
The dismantling of the trestle is going along well, it looks now as if the job will be completed this week. in shape. ...aside from the bents ten percent of the total cannot be salvaged.”

5-26-30
...finished dismantling the coal trestle and are now placing a track for filling in. the cost of dismantling is $267.00.”

6-2-30 (mistakenly 5-2-30)
The track at the coal dock is now completed and the filling in has commenced. ...filling process...part of the daily operations which we hope will be completed by August.”


From Quincy Mining Company files, Michigan Technological University Archives





Tuesday, September 29, 2015

QUINCY SMELTER TOUR ON OCTOBER 10TH ENDS THE 2015 SEASON

Location: Hancock MI
Event: Quincy Smelter Tour
Date: October 10th, 2015

Time: 11 AM to 3 PM

$5/person, children under 10 free


Join us for the last tour of the season as we head into fall colors. Not only will you see a part of the Copper Country's industrial heritage. Look up and down the hills of Houghton and Hancock from the smelter's waterfront location. You'll see a breathtaking profusion of yellows and reds.


Directions: Turn right after crossing the bridge on to M-26, go 1/4 mile to the sign on the right.

 The smelter is a former industrial site.  Please wear closed shoes for safety reasons.  
The Quincy Smelter Association in partnership with the Advisory Commission of the KeweenawNational Historical Park is authorized to provide tours to the public.


LAST QUINCY SMELTER EVENING TOUR OF THE 2015 SEASON

Location: Hancock MI
Event: Quincy Smelter Tour

Date: October 9th, 2015

Time: 6 PM

$5/person, children under 10 free



The Quincy Smelter Association is once again holding its tours during MTU's Family Weekend. With the great popularity of these tours in the past, our Association is expanding them.  On Friday, October 9th, we will have a twilight tour at 6 PM as the setting sun shines down the valley of the Portage Canal separating Houghton and Hancock.  

The tour is open to everyone.  

Please join us for an exciting experience!
 
Directions: Turn right after crossing the bridge on to M-26, go 1/4 mile to the sign on the right.

THERE WILL BE TOURS ON SATURDAY,  OCTOBER 10TH.  PLEASE SEE OUR NEXT ANNOUNCEMENT.
The smelter is a former industrial site.  Please wear closed shoes for safety reasons.  

The Quincy Smelter Association in partnership with the Advisory Commission of the Keweenaw National Historical Park is authorized to provide tours to the public.
 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

JOIN US FOR A SPECIAL TOUR DATE ON SEPTEMBER 26TH


Hancock, MI
September 26th, 2015
11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

$5/person, children under 10 free
 
We're just starting to see fall color here and there. An opportunity for enjoying the changing colors in the Portage Lake valley of Houghton and Hancock.

The Quincy Smelter Association hosts tours monthly so visitors such as yourself can see the only intact copper smelter from the American Industrial Revolution around the turn of the 20th Century.  See much of the original machinery used to turn ore into copper ingots.  Not only can you see the original equipment from the smelter's construction in 1898. But our guides will point out the major changes  in the Great Expansion of 1920.  We look forward to showing this and much more.

Since much of the tour is spent in the buildings, this is a great event especially on rainy days.

Bring your flashlights!

Directions: Turn right after crossing the bridge on to M-26, go 1/4 mile to the sign on the right.

The smelter is a former industrial site.  We recommend wearing closed shoes for your safety.

For a full listing of our tour dates for 2015, see
http://quincysmelterassociation.blogspot.com/.

The Quincy Smelter Association is a non-profit organization authorized to give tours by the owner, Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

Friday, April 10, 2015

QUINCY SMELTER 2015 TOUR SCHEDULE


Quincy Smelter Association Announces 
Its 2015 Tour Schedule

The QSA has set the following dates for tours:

June 27th, 2015

July 18th, 2015

August 8th, 2015

September 12th, 2015

October 10th, 2015

All tours are on Saturdays from 11 AM to 3 PM.

Tours start on the hour with the last tour beginning at 2 PM. Each tour lasts approximately an hour.

Since this is a former industrial site, we recommend wearing closed footware, not sandals, flip flops, etc.

Your experienced guide will lead you through the buildings and the grounds to ensure your safety.

We are an all volunteer organization. We give tours because we enjoy sharing the workings of the smelter and hope you will leave with a better understanding of a small part of America's industrial history.

We are able to provide group tours with advance notice.
Questions: 906-369-3797

NEW: Watch for our evening tours this year!

We hope to see you next summer in the beautiful Keweenaw valley in Houghton and Hancock.

Cost: $5.00 per person
Free to children under 10 with accompanying adult

Quincy Smelter Association (Section 501(c)(3) organization) has an agreement with the owner, Advisory Commission of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.  All proceeds from tours fund the Association's expenses and activities.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

COPPER PRICES DROP THEN AND NOW


From the The Guardian (1-14-15)
"Amid a wider commodities sell-off the metal was down more than 8% at one point at $5,353.25 a tonne [2204.6 pounds] – a level last seen during the depths of the financial crisis in July 2009."

That's $2.42 a pound. 


With the current drop in prices of metals and energy products, we thought it would be interesting to look at another depression in copper prices in the 1920s.  

After World War I, the copper industry went into a depression because of oversupply from American and foreign mines.  Prices were around 12 to 15 cents per pound, dropping at one time to 8 cents.  Using 13 cents a pound in 1920, the price equivalent in 2013 terms is $1.45 a pound.  

This was an era in which America was building its electrical infrastructure with companies such as General Electric producing generating equipment for industry and cities.  Electric appliances were coming on to the market--refrigerators, toasters, vacuum cleaners--for the growing consumer market.  Automobiles required copper for electrical equipment and radiators as Henry Ford and his rapidly growing competitor, General Motors, built millions of cars each year.

Quincy Smelter was one of those producers of copper.  There was a massive expansion of smelter capacity starting in 1918-19 and completion in 1920-21 with anticipation of a growing market, not a depression. 

The Keweenaw was at a disadvantage with higher production costs than western mines where extraction was less expensive due to surface stripping of the landscape versus underground mining.  

Copper in the Keweenaw which the mining industry called the Lake District could fetch a premium because small amounts of silver in the copper ore  were thought to improve conductivity.  The amount of silver varied from 28 to 66 oz per ton.  The smelter itself differentiated between the different ores and slag materials, saying they would run charges (ore put in furnaces for melting) with or without silver.  It depended for what purpose the end product was to be used by a customer. In the 1920s the chemistry of smelting was only vaguely understood and much of the practice of smelting was based upon experience and some science.  


Even though the Keweenaw copper mining companies closed in 1968, the boom and bust cycle of the mining industry continues.  After this recession, we may see another cycle of copper mining in the Keweenaw.