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Copyright 1996-2003
Kevin E. Musser


 
 

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Copper Range Freda Park

 

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Agate Beach at Freda Park

 
 

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Freda Park Pavilion
Roy Drier Collection, MTU & CCHC

 

Among the many duties of the Copper Range one was very unique. It was called the Freda Park train. It started in 1905 and ran every Sunday and holidays, carring as many as 15 coaches and almost three hundred passengers from various parts of the Copper Country to Freda Park, which was located one mile west of the Freda town site.

It was operated by the Copper Range Railroad for its exclusive use to boost its revenue on the railroad. The train started out from Hancock, crossed the bridge, then turned west in Houghton and ran through the range towns, picking up passengers as it went by. Traffic was heavy and revenue was good. It was a sight to see the special train whizzing by at high speed with banners and flags flying from each coach. The picnic fever was evident everywhere.

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The "Rustic Bridge" at Freda Park

On arrival at the Freda Park, the coaches would unload, and people would remain for the rest of the day on the park grounds. There were huge swings, horseshoe courts, tennis courts, barbecue pits, and a beautiful pavilion concessionaire on the Lake Superior shoreline. The concessionaire was operated by Mr. and Mrs. Harry Jolie. The bathing beach adjacent to the park was a little difficult to walk on because of the millions of beautiful, small, pebbly, smooth, colorful stones that dominated the beach. Things went well for over a decade, but on Labor Day, 1917, the Freda Park closed it doors forever. Why?

This was a railroad park, but automobiles were coming and horning in on its business, taking away many passengers from the train. Instead of coming by train, they came by car, and since the railroad was maintaining the cost of upkeep, the cost was prohibitive and not worth continuing. For those who attended, it will be a happy memory.

(Related by William Brinkman)

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The special Freda Park Train stops for a photo.

Other related research notes by Kevin Musser

I believe that starting in 1908 the train extended all the way to Calumet. The railroad added .25 cents to the cost of a regular passenger ticket, making a round-trup ticket cost from Calumet a dollar, .75 cents from Hancock. The park was located one half of a mile from the train depot and was open from 9a.m. to 9p.m.

In 1914 two trains ran on Sunday.

A complete structure list for Freda Park was as follows:
Passenger Shelter 10 ft. by 416 ft.
Caretakers house 18x20
Lunch counter 16x16
Baggage house 16x16
Dancing Pavillion 40x98
Kitchen at Dance Pavillion 24x34
Ice House
5 stall outhouse

The town of Freda was the stamp mill locatoin for the Champion Copper Company, located in Painesdale. Freda contained 850 people at one time. There were 14 homes along the shore, a 40 room boarding house with as many as 60 boarders. The town had 2 bars, churches, a post office, and a fire department.

Freda park hosted dancing on Sunday afternoon, with a live band, and on Saturday's the beer wagon came complete with a team of horses. The beer was kept cool in root houses in the hills.

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