Mining and Logging

Dedicated to capturing the stories and spirit of the region, one way the Center for Upper Peninsula Studies achieves this goal is recording the oral histories of the area's residents. Each interview is done in person, recorded and then transcribed for ease of use. On this page, find interviews discussing the history of mining and logging in the area. 




Barnes-Hecker Mining Disaster

No Date Given 

A collection of personal stories regarding the mining disaster details accounts of the lone survivor, anecdotes of the family members of those killed, and logistics of mining surrounding the Barnes-Hecker Mining Disaster of 1926 in Ispheming, Michigan. 

Eric Beinlick 

May 2, 2007

Employed by Cleveland Cliffs between 1952-1987, Eric Beinlick describes the development of the UP mining industry, changes in his job, and the relationship between labor and management within the company. 

John Berquist 1994 John Berquist is a folk singer and performer who shares songs from miners and ethnic groups from the Iron Range which include the Upper Peninsula, Northern Minnesota, and Canada. He sings their mining songs that he has collected and shares folklore stories from these areas.

Joy Han & Tom Waggoner

May 4, 2010

1930-2010 Chinese Communist Revolution, Christianity in China, immigration to the United States from China, family, Tsu Ming Han, geology, Cleveland Cliffs Mining Company, iron ore pelletizing, mineral extracting. 

Tsu Ming Han

December 7, 1993

Tsu Ming Han discusses his life and career; how he came to live in the Upper Peninsula and became involved with CCI and his work as a geologist.

Tsu-Ming Han Remembered

October 4, 2013

A variety of family, friends, and coworkers reminisce and share stories about Tsu-Ming Han, who worked at the Michigan Iron Industry Museum for many years.

Lowell Johnson

July 15, 2012

Johnson talks about his grandparents’ migration from Sweden to the Upper Peninsula; his family history; their work in mines and powder mills and logging; early Marquette; building old houses; his grandma cooking lutefisk; his schooling at John D. Pierce, Graverette, and Marquette Senior High School; working at Lakeshore; his interest in the woods and nature; land use and control; hunting; private property; tourism; and guns and gun control.

Nelson King

April 14, 1989

Nelson King served as the Unit Manager at Calahan Mining: Ropes Gold Mine.  In this interview, he discusses different positions in the mine, blasting, safety precautions, tunneling, transporting ore via hoist and truck, and the future of the Ropes Gold Mine.

William Krisch Date unknown William Krisch discusses what it was like growing up in Imperial Heights, Michigan and some of the stories surrounding the Imperial Mine. Some of his stories include Henry Ford coming to his farm house and Mr. Ford's semi-pro basketball team. Note that there was a third person during the interview that is believed to be Mr. Krisch's wife but her name is unknown at this time.

Louis LaJeunesse

April 9, 1994

Last Generation of Underground Miners on the Marquette Range.  Biographic. Born 1914 to B. R. St. Amour and Joe LaJeunesse, parents French, came from Canada. Chocolay Township, West Branch Township.  Cut and hauled timber destined for local mines.  Started at Cleveland Cliffs in 1942 at Negaunee and later at Mather A for three years. Hoisting timber, blasting, miner.  Eagle Mills for four years.  Mather B 1964 or `65, retired in 1975.  Immigrant miners, different languages spoken. 

Tape 2 begins with names of siblings, how he met his wife, Alice (Larson), both working in a logging camp, Skanee, Michigan. Daughter, Phyllis.  Typical Christmas celebration.  Discusses building houses, hauling block, or wood in addition to working at the mine.  Briefly discusses home life, faith and work on US-2 and Third Street, West Ishpeming. Double-eight steel, underground pump room.  Closes discussing Phyllis’ family.

Kaarina Lucas

July 18, 1994

Wife of William Lucas, a miner, Kaarina describes life in rural Ishpeming as the daughter of a miner at Barnum Mine, lgrowing up on a farm during the Depression, joining the Navy WAVES program in college, marrying William Lucas and being the wife of a miner, and general life in the mid twentieth century.

William Lucas

June 20, 1994

Last Generation of Underground Miners on the Marquette Range.  Interview of Mr. Lucas in Ishpeming, Michigan.  Mr. Lucas was born in 1911, in North Lake, Michigan.  Parents emigrated from Finland, via Sweden and Norway to Canada, thence to Ishpeming, Michigan.  Father worked for CCI as lead man in shaft work at Holmes, Lloyd Mine #1, Barnes-Hecker mine, and Greenwood mine. Mr. Lucas describes his career as an underground miner. 1934-1973 (ret.). Biographical. Underground mining terminology, iron ore mining, labor strike of 1946, Cliff’s Shaft, Mather B Mine. Finnish spoken at home growing up.

Robert Mahin  November 23, 2004 Prospector and explorer Robert Mahin discusses the discovery of rich zinc mineral deposits in Menominee County and gold prospecting in the Upper Peninsula. 

Ralph Maki

June 27, 1994

Last Generation of Underground Miners on the Marquette Range.  Biographic interview of Mr. Maki at his home, Ishpeming, Michigan.  Born 1915, Humboldt, Michigan.  His Father, a Finnish Immigrant, died in Barnes and Hecker cave-in. WPA employment, started working for CCI in 1935-36 at Lloyd mine.  Drift mining, Lloyd and Mather A mines. Underground iron mining, mining terminology, Finnish spoken at home growing up.

Corrected draft of interview with editor’s notes in margins.

John Marshall 

May 1st, 2007

Retired employee of Cleveland Cliffs and Kennecott mining companies, John Marshall discusses his career in iron ore mining at the Empire, Tilden, and Republic mines in the Upper Peninsula, the evolution of mining practices since the 1970's and the future of mining in area. 

Mining No Date Given  Four unidentified men involved in the mining industry share snippets of information regarding mine construction, the strike of 1946, blasting hazards, and tonnage. 
Sargent Henry No Date Given Henry Sargent discusses life in the logging community of Nahma, Michigan. Henry worked for the Bay de Noc lumber company that was headquartered out of Oconto, Wisconsin. Henry shares insight to how the town of Nahma changed over the years and personal stories within the camps including train wrecks and lumberjack tales.
Ernie Ronn  December 15, 1998 Ernie Ronn remembers his childhood growing up in the shadows of the mines in Negaunee, and tells about his experiences working in the mines, living in Negaunee with other miners, and his love of the mining lifestyle. 
Schulz Rose December 20, 1979 Rose Schultz currently works at the old headquarters of the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Co. based in Hermansville, Michigan. Rose gives a tour of the old building and explains some of the history that took place there through the years of operations. She also goes through some old records in the vault and how some of those documents allowed her to have a better understanding of the history of the Wisconsin Land & Lumber Co.

Lowell Smail

April 5, 1994

Last Generation of Underground Miners on the Marquette Range.  Interviewer’s Uncle discusses his employment history, beginning with the Breitung Hotel, truck driver for the WPA, Abe Wolfe, Ford Bomber Plant in Ypsilanti, pulp cutting for Joe Erickson.  Hired at Mather A in 1947 as common laborer, up to miner.  The dry, riding in the cage, mucking ditches, lagging, blasting, scraping, company count, footage, lunch pail, honey box, drilling, blasting, clearing, skip tender, hoist operator.

Charles Sprague Taylor October 12, 1966 Charles Sprague Taylor tells stories and explains the regional dialect of the early logging community in Newberry, Michigan. 
Dawn Tippett Smail April, 14 1994 Last Generation of Underground Miners on the Marquette Range. Dawn Smail describe the typical life of a miner's wife and the constant struggles she faced. Most of the time the family did not have the money but through some creativity and some thriftiness Dawn, with the help of her extended family, made the most of their time while being a mining family. 
Dewey Tippett  April 24, 1994 Dewey Tippet, a Cleveland Cliffs miner describes the life of a U.P. miner in the 1950's. The interview is conducted by his daughter who asks him to define different mining terms such as drifting, sublevel caving, lagging, dog drifts, caging, timbering, contract mining, and more. Much of the interview is Dewey discussing his jobs as a dispatcher and a timbering supervisor and describing his responsibilities for each of his jobs. 
Earl Steinhoff March 21, 2007  Retired logger Earl Steinhoff talks about logging in the UP in the second half of th 1900s including the development of mechanized logging, Cleveland Cliffs, and the overall methods used in the industry.