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.
Date Created/Published: c1906
Coal dock on right
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
WINTER VIEW OF QMC SMELTER (OPENED 1898) AS SEEN FROM HOUGHTON, ACROSS PORTAGE LAKE. C. 1900.Coal dock in front of farthest left chimney
“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.”
“Next week we will start dismantling the coal dock trestle.”
“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.”
“...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