Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc.
and you can help to save Champion #4

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Copyright 1996-2007 
 Kevin E. Musser

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Welcome to our Restoration Website

Check out our Restoration Update page if you already know about our restoration project and would like to know about up-coming meeting and events.

Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. Newsletter

May 2007

We are sending out this newletter to let members know we are moving forward with the restoration of Champion #4. We know it has been quite some time since our last newsletter, and we apologize for that. In September 2006, there was a re-organization meeting and a new board was elected. In this newsletter you will meet the new and old board members. Also included is a treasurer's report, so you can see where your donations are going. We do appreciate every ones help.

As we move forward we would like to be able to share photos and stories with people that stop to tour the mineshaft, hoist house and the captain's office. We are in the process of getting a display ready to be viewed at the former Portage Library building in Houghton, now called Carnegie Library Museum & Cultural Center. The hours from the viewing are Wednesday 3pm to 8pm, Saturday and Sunday hours are noon to 5pm. We would also need volunteers for the display. We are hoping to have the display up soon. After residing at the museum for a time it would then be transfered to our captain's office and hoist building for everyone to be able to view. We welcome all photos and stories you may want to share.

Tours will be given for as long as we can offer them, depending on when old man winter wants to take over the area.

Meet our Board Members

President: Sherri Brandt

My name is Sherri Brandt, I am 48 years old and the current President of Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. I was born and raised in the area, and live currently in Donken, Michigan. I have a son Josh, who is 22 years old. I currently am employed with the Ojibwa Casino Resort in Baraga, have been there for almost 4 years. I am the Cage Clerk at the casino. My interests are in the local history, and want to see that it remain of interest to the people. I love to hike and explore the area, and I am an avid reader, mostly of the local interest. I have read a lot of books on mining in the area, we have a rich history, and we need to preserve that. I have previously volunteered at fundraisers for the Painesdale Mine & Shaft at the dinners and breakfast, and have even walked in a parade. I would like to see more people become involved in the restoration; we need all the help we can get.

Vice President: Rex Carlson

About three years ago my wife Barb, and I came to this area to visit with her Uncle Joe Bussiere aad his wife, Aunt Maila. We fell in love with the area and found a four bedroom house on the south east corner of 2nd and Cherokee Street in Painesdale. It had not been lived in for some time and was in need of great repair from the roof to the furnace in the basement. So we set about repairing what needed to be done and with the help of old friends and new ones we ended up short of turning our new "digs" into a money pit and made our new home very comfortable. We have a bonus view, no matter which window you look out of on the east side of the house you see Champion #4 Copper Mine Shaft House. What a view!!

I was so happy when I found out there was a local club that I could get involved with and help in the efforts to preserve the old mine and property, Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. I owned and operated a sign shop downstate in the small village of Mio for about 35 years. I could see the potential and need for my experience in advertising our mine, etc. For those of you who donate to our cause and are watching how we spend the money, there will be no charge for my part in the advertising, just for the materials needed. I have met many of you last summer when I was giving tours and I hope to meet many more this year. I am glad and proud to show you around.

"Old Man on the Mountain" by Rex Carlson

We were looking for a place to retire and rest.
A place full of maples, the tree we love the best.

We found that place, west of Paradise.
As we looked it over, we saw it was nice.

A place named Painesdale, struck us with awe.
It's located up here in the Keweenaw.

With our own copper mine; we could list a lot more.
Cause we're surrounded by the Lake Superior shore.

Grandpa Carson aka Ole Uncle Rex

Secretary: Debbie Pindral

Debbie Pindral has been involved with Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. from the inception. She has been an active board member from its early grassroots efforts of "Save our Shaft house" in the early 1990's, through ten plus years of fundraising, on site tours, and publicizing efforts. She currently serves on the executive board as secretary. She is also a member of the Copper Range Historical Society, and is a trustee on the Board for the Township of Adams.

Debbie greauated from Jeffers High School and has lived in Painesdale since 1975. Her husband, Chester, and their two sons, Adam and Devin, have also been active in Painesdale Mine & Shaft activities. Debbie served as a co-chair on the Painesdale Centennial committee. She has been employed by the Western U.P. Health Department in Hancock since 1985, dividing her time between Public health and Superior Home Nursing and Hospice. Currently serves as the Treasurer for MI AFSCME Local 3626. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys family activities such as camping, four-wheeling and enjoys working to proteect and preserve such an inportant piece of local history, Champion #4 Shaft house.

Treasurer: Anton J Pintar

I became a PM&S lifetime member shortly after PM&S was incorporated; in 1999.I served on the Painesdale Centennial committee and helped to plan the centennial activities. Shortly after that I was asked to serve as a trustee on the PM&S board. Last fall I volunteered to serve as Treasurer. I am also a lifetime member of the Copper Range Historical Society and became a trustee of CRHS in 2005.

I was born in Painesdale in June of 1940. I grew up on the west end of Baltic Street. Some of our neighbors were my grandmother (Anna Pintar), Blaz Gasperac, Toney Gasperac, John Skoviak and John Pleshe. I started kindergarten at the old Painesdale Grade School in 1945 shortly after WWII ended. After a few weeks we moved to the Jeffers High School because the mines were closing and the grade school could no longer be heated. I remember carrying my little red chair from the grade school to the high school. At that time Champion Mine #2 was already a pile of rubble but Champion Mines #1, #3, and #4 were still operating. Within a year or so, many people, including most of our neighbors, moved away to find jobs. I saw house after house being torn down with only foundations remaining.

We made regular trips to Aho's and Taro's Candy Stores. On Sunday after Mass, my father would buy me an ice cream cone from Gregorich Candy Store. We got to see first-run movies like "The Yearling" at the Painesdale Opera House. I also remember seeing movies at the Star Theater in South Range. When we got a little older, we would go to either Tuominen's or Harju's sauna on Satudays. We often rode the Copper Range bus to South Range and to Houghton-Hancock.

I graduated from Jeffers High School in 1958; attended Michigan Tech (Michigan College of Mining and Technology at that time) graduating in 1962 with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and then did graduate work at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, receiving my Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering in 1968. I taught Chemical Engineering at Michigan Tech for 36 years and am now retired. In November I was elected Houghton County Commissioner from District 3 (Adams Township, City of Hancock, and Quincy Township).

I am married and have four sons, one daughter, and seven grandchildren.

Trustee: Jennifer Brandt

My name is Jennifer Brandt and I am currently a Trustee on the board for PM&S. It is my first time being on the board but I am no stranger to PM&S. I have volunteered my time at several spaghetti dinners. I am the youngest member of the board at 33 and currently reside in Toivola. I am engaged to Darrin Kuukkonen of Toivola and we are to be we in July of 2007.

Trustee: Ralph Raffaelli

The history of Ralph Raffaelli began when he was born in South Range, Michigan where he spent his childhood. Ralph graduated from Jeffers High School and received his degree in Law Enforcement from Northern Michigan University. Ralph's career in police work began as a patrol officer in 1967. He moved on to detective and has been Houghton's Chief of Police since 1986, retiring recently. Ralph is well known for his community service. School children remember him as McGruff, the savvy police dog. He provides historic photo fairs for senior citizen groups and speaks to them about his avocation-history. In 2004, Ralph Raffaelli created an outstanding display of over 500 historic photos for South Range's 100th anniversary. Ralph has been recognized for his contribution to historical preservation with the Houghton-Keweenaw chamber of Commerce Spark Plug Award for Historic Preservation, Governor John B. Swainson Award for Preservation of Michigan History and the Rotary Club's Paul Harris Award for Historic Preservation. Ralph lives in Houghton with his wife Barbara. They have four children and three grandchildren.

Trustee: Janet Gregorich

Over 10 years ago a group of us met to discuss how we can save the shaft house in Painesdale. My dad Rudy Gregorich, and myself became part of that group. Since it is the only shaft house of the bridge, we all believed it was worth saving. I am a native of Painesdale, graduating from Jeffers High School, attended Suomi College (now Finlandia University) and Northern Michigan University. I have worked in the Copper Country my entire working career. The last 28 for the County of Houghton, and for 25 years of that I was the County Tresurer. I am on the board because I believe the shaft is worth saving. The hoist house is ours, because of my dad's efforts. I am also on the board in honor of him. We all have to do our part to save this part of Painesdale history.

Other News

On October 29th, 2006 the Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc., held an open house to celebrate 10 years of restoration of Champion #4. We would like to thank everybody that came to have a tour, and that made bakery. We would also like to thank the people on hand that gave tours.

Thank you to Wal Mart for the donations of cookies, and WLUC TV6, Liz McFarland for covering the event.

We want to let everyone know, we are back on track in restoring history in the area. In the future we would like to be able to give more tours and let people relive the past of the men who worked the mine.

Let us know what you think about our restoration project.

Would you be interested in purchasing a documentary video of the life and times during the mining era in Painesdale? If so check this out.

Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. Treasurer's Report
Summary for 2006

Checking Account

                       Previous Balance                                                                                             $659.70


                       Donations                                                                             $528.35
                       Donations - Mugs, Sweatshirts, etc.                                         $15.85
                       Transfer from Savings                                                         $2596.00
                                                                                              Total           $3,140.20


                       UPPCO - Electricity                                                              $613.57
                       Hannula Agency - Insurance Renewal                                  $2,596.00
                       Postage                                                                                   $31.03
                       Supplies (Lock, Keys, Letterhead, Checks)                             $108.97
                       Funeral Flowers                                                                       $44.15
                       Mugs, Sweatshirts, etc.                                                            $47.70
                       Membership Fees                                                                    $20.00
                                                                                                Total           $3461.42

                       Year-End Balace                                                                                             $338.48

Savings Account

                       Previous Balance                                                                                         $12,205.07


                       Interest                                                                                    $190.12
                       Donations                                                                                $236.00
                                                                                                 Total              $426.12


                       Transfer to Checking Account                                                $2,596.00
                                                                                                 Total            $2,596.00

                       Year-End Balance                                                                                        $10,035.19

                       Total Cash on Hand at Year's End                                                                $10,373.67

Please Help Save a Piece of History
Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. is dedicated to the preservation and restoration of the Champion #4 Shaft-Rockhouse, but why, you may ask, should the building be saved?

History: Orginally constructed in 1902, the Champion #4 Shaft-Rockhouse is the oldest shaft-rockhouse standing in the Keweenaw. Of the once extensive Copper Range Co. mines that ran from Atlantic Mine to Painesdale, the Champion #4 is the only shafthouse that remains to tell the story of one of Keweenaw's greatest mining companies. The shaft-rockhouse is unique in its design; built in a time when hand labor and brute force were used to move mountains, the rockhouse crushing floor is not as automated as later shaft-rockhouses were.

Operated for nearly 65 years until mining operations ceased altogether in 1967, the Champion #4 tells the story of several generations of miners. Thousands of men passed through the structure as they headed to work in the mine below. More than just an old rusting shaft, the Champion #4 speaks of the men that lived and died blasting, tramming, hoisting, and crushing the copper rock that fed the area's economy. by preserving this structure, the story of those men, their sacrifices, their labors, and their accomplishments will be preserved along with it.

By preserving and restoring the Champion #4 Shaft-Rockhouse, Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. hopes to someday open it as a museum so that future generations can experience the sights, sounds, smells, and the feel of mining as it once was. Along with the #4 shafthouse, there remains numerous industrial buildings, railway equipment, and private homes related to the mining era. PM&S, Inc. hopes to someday identify these structures so that the full story of what life was like in Painesdale can be told.

You can find a complete history of the site by following this link.

Looking a mile beneath Painesdale

Dear Community Member:
On October 25, 1996, Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. acquired the Champion #4 Shafthouse from Adams Township saving the historic structure from the clutches of the scrapper's torch. 
Though now free from the threat of being reduced to scrap, the Champion #4 Shafthouse is fighting the destructive forces of nature. Fierce winter winds have torn loose sections of the corrugated iron sheathing exposing the shafthouse's critical steel structure to the rain and snow. If not stopped, rust and rot will accomplish what the scrapper's torch was prevented to do; destroy an important piece of Copper Country history.
Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. is working to make sure that this does not come to pass. Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc. is a nonprofit, volunteer corporation organized for the purpose of the preservation and restoration of the Champion #4 Shafthouse in Painesdale, Mi. PM&S, Inc's first priorty is to replace the missing sections of corrugated sheathing in order to stop the eventual destruction of the shafthouse's steel framing.
Your financial assistance is desperately needed to make this effort sucessful. Without your help, this unique artifact may be lost forever.
                             - Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc.

Please Help Save our Shafthouse
Your interest and support are being sought through two options:

1) Contributions to the Save Our Shafthouse Project $_________
2) Membership in the Painesdale Mine & Shaft, Inc:
        __ Yearly - $10.00       __   Lifetime - $100.00 

Please make checks payable to:

PM&S, Inc.
P.O. Box 332
Painesdale, Mi. 49955


If you have questions please send them to the above address or
e-mail us at:


Copper Range box cars in the shadow of #4, now just a memory
(These cars were not owned by PM&S and they were destroyed as scrap for a few dollars,
only your help can help us save the rest, before it is too late.)

Thanks also to 
Exploring the North
website for 
listing our address.

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and The Copper Range Railroad and Copper Country Historical Page.
Providing the world with information and 
history of Michigan's Copper Country.

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