Fraternities - Sigma Rho - Copper Falls Mine

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• Members of the Sigma Rho fraternity at Michigan Tech, in an eight-month project, have succeeded in mining out" an 11-ton steam hoist from the depths of the Copper Falls mine in Keweenaw County. Abandoned when the mine closed after a half century of productive operations, the hoist was greased and laid to rest in 1892.Working an estimated total of 3,000 man-hours from early October, 1954 until the latter part of May, 1955, the fraternity group went at the project in a manner not too dissimilar from an actual mining operation.Robert "Speed" Burns, a graduate student in geology at MTU came across the hoist and it was he who came up with the idea of taking out the hoist. Along with Dr. Joseph P. Dobell, professor of geology, he interested members of Sigma Rho in tackling the project.The 11-ton hoist was located 900 feet below the surface. The only access to it was through an air ventilation adit that intersected the main Owls Creek shaft at the second level. The shaft was cut into the ground at a 27 to 30 degree angle.The plan was to dismantle the hoist and take it up piece by piece. There was no skip handy and only about 200 feet of intermittent track remained in the shaft. In order to bring the parts up, it was necessary to construct a skip and lay 600 feet of track.The work crew generally included five to ten men, working two or three days a week. Professor Dobell was the job supervisor while George Sinko, graduating senior from Detroit, acted as co-ordinator of the students. He was president of the fraternity. [Condensed from a Daily Mining Gazette Green Sheet article, May 26, 1956 edition.] "
8/7/2008 1:09:40 PM by Christine Holland, Archives