& Copper Country Historical Page

Site Map
What's New
labdisc.jpg (2832 bytes)
Scale Models
Image Gallery
Painesdale Mine & Shaft
Depot - FAQ
Range Today
Author Information

Copyright 1996-2004
Kevin E. Musser

Memories of the

Copper Range Company Office

In Painesdale

               crmineoffice1.jpg (123985 bytes)                                                                                      

            Hello, my name is Doris (Hanzi) Groeneveld.  The building that was once beautiful and bustling with activity is now silent and in disrepair.  I worked as a secretary for a few years (in the better days), here at the Copper Range Mining Company-Champion Division.  My maiden name was Doris Hanzi, daughter of Carl & Lillian Hanzi from Houghton.  I graduated from Houghton High School in 1942.  When I was hired in, I started working for Copper Range in downtown Houghton.  Copper Range had an office on the second floor of the Bell Telephone Company.  I worked for John M. Wagner for about a month, and then was transferred to the Champion-Painesdale Mine Office.  Mr. Wagner was a nice guy to work for and addressed me as Lady Doris.  He was very punctual and had the most interesting phrases of communication such as taking mail to the Post Office, he would often say, “Lady Doris, take a journey by foot and deliver these letters.”  Also in Houghton, were the Schylutes who were the Copper Range Company lawyers.  

crmineofficedoris.jpg (41673 bytes)
Doris (Hanzi) Groeneveld

Starting in Painesdale at the mine office, I was the secretary to the secretary of the President.  My boss was William P. Nichols, and he was the secretary to the President who was William H. Schacht.   Entering the  mine office on the first floor and turning right was the chief clerk’s office and Henry Combellack,was the chief clerk, and his secretary was Miriam Ahoinen, along with Chris Stoneman.  Behind that was the pay office, and in the back was a bookkeeping room.  Continuing on the first floor from the front doors and going left was the hallway leading to the secretary to the President’s office, and through his office, was the office of the President.  The door leading to President Schacht’s office was a very heavy thick door which we nicknamed, “the door to the inner sanctum.”  The secretary’s room where I worked, was behind Nichols room, and I shared this room with the other secretary, and her name was Kathryn Maurin. Behind our room was the office of the mine superintendent, and his name was Bernard Manderfield, and we nicknamed him “Bunn”.  In the center of the first floor was the vault, and there were two doors, one on the secretary’s side, and one on the clerk’s side. 

 The stairway leading to the second floor was directly in front of the front doors.  The second floor had two office rooms in the back, one for the chief engineer whose name was Harry T. Mercer, and the other room was for the electrical engineer who was Martin Meyers.  A large drawing room was on the right side, a vault was in the center, and two other all-purpose rooms were on the left side for storage and etc. 

 The third floor was a place that I never went to so I don’t know what was up there.

 The basement had a large area for developing blueprints, and also was   used for storage along with the toilets being down there.  Ammonia was used in the process of developing blueprints, and practical jokes usually took place to a new person going downstairs, and I was lured over by one of the two workers who showed me the prints, and said, “Take a whiff of this solution.”  I was dazed and nearly passed out.  They had a good laugh! 

crmineofficeup.jpg (73137 bytes)

 Office hours were 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, and Saturday, 8-12 unless some unexpected meeting came about.  I arrived at work each day courtesy of the Copper Range motorbus.  It left every two hours from Houghton, (from 6 AM to midnight) and it picked me up at 7:40 AM, and I arrived at Painesdale at about 8:05 AM.  It stopped at the top of “Snob Hill”, and from there I walked the rest of the way to the office.  I rode back leaving work at 4 PM to catch the bus back to Houghton at 4:10 PM.  My starting pay was $78 per month, and I had two other raises during my years of service, that being $87.50 per month and finally $102 per month.  My duties were primarily typing, taking business notes, business reports, dictation, filing, miscellaneous errands and even some housekeeping, too.   The mine never had any serious accidents or deaths while I was there, but the most interesting accident report I did involved a miner at the dry.  This miner while cleaning up after his shift, burned his butt on a steam register, and required assistance provided at the Copper Range Hospital in Trimountain.  Dr. Coffin was the company doctor at that time.  President Schacht and Mr. Nichols were both very nice to work for, and  all of the people in the mining office building got along well.  A lot of company business pertained to developing the White Pine Mine, and I remember that even though a lot of copper was coming from Champion, and that the mine at that time was 56 levels deep, it was not very cost effective, and that the War Department had a price guarantee on the copper.  The deep shaft mining would not be able to provide any more years of profitable production.  President Schacht was also the Chairman of the local War Department Board.  He was able to keep the mine staffed and by making deferments, many miners were able to work rather than being drafted for the war.  There were a lot of labor shortages, and since copper was a metal needed by the War Department, it was considered a vital supply for our country.

crmineofficeside.jpg (93481 bytes)

 Miscellaneous:  On the Chief Clerk’s side of the building, I noticed that there was a doorway that has been boarded up.   When I worked there, this doorway had a split door in it, and that is where the miners came to receive their pay.  Company houses were rented out to miners for $1 per room, and Copper Range had a lot of houses in Painesdale and Trimountain.  We ate our lunch usually at our desk, and can only remember a few times having any special parties, or events with co-workers.  I remember that we went to the Bowling Alley in Painesdale with our group.   If you forgot your lunch, you either borrowed from a friend, and if you were lucky, someone might be able to get you something from the Company General Store in Painesdale.  The only regret that I have is that I had the opportunity to go underground in the Champion Mine by Bernard Manderfield, but I did not go to see what it was like.  I thought I might go down and not come back up.  It is just a curiosity that I have thought about often.   I also rode the Copper Range Train to Chicago a couple of times during the war and remember that during the war they used all of the old coaches, and had a big stove in the center for heating.  It was an interesting trip on the Copper Range from Houghton to McKeever, and then on the Milwaukee Road.  We had comfortable furnishings in the office, and we survived working in the summer months without air-conditioning!  Additional names I have of co-workers that I can’t remember their exact titles are as follows: Ed Stoneman, Jim Combellack, Frank Kingsley, and Minnie Margherio.  Harry Hercy became the Mine Superintendent when “Bunn” Bernard Manderfield left in 1945.  I worked up until early 1947.

crmineofficefront.jpg (44830 bytes)Now as a retired grandmother, I enjoy traveling and cherishing grandchildren, and all of my family.  Recently, went to Australia for a month, Hawaii, and Seattle.  I will be visiting grandchildren in Pennsylvania, and Virginia this spring.  I still ride my bike, ski, and go to the health spa for swimming, and enjoy hiking and nature. 

Doris (Hanzi) Groeneveld
Muskegon, MI

Prepared by Bruce and Phyllis Groeneveld
Note:  All names are spelled to the best of my memory, but could be incorrect.







Floor Plans for the Copper Range Company office (provided by Bruce Groeneveld)

First Floor

crmineoffice1st.jpg (77359 bytes)

Second Floor

crmineoffice2nd.jpg (61439 bytes)

Third Floor

crmineoffice3rd.jpg (56280 bytes)