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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Calumet in Houghton County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Clearing the Way

 
 
Clearing the Way Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 2, 2017
1. Clearing the Way Marker
Inscription. The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company couldn't allow winter to derail its operation. In a remote region that can receive upwards of 300 inches (762 cm) of snow each year, snow removal was serious business. Clear rail lines were essential for moving people, equipment, and supplies that kept the mines operating smoothly. To open the lines after a storm, a steam locomotive pushed the Russell Snowplow through the snowdrifts. Winter brought many challenges, but wouldn't stand in the way of the people or the mine.
 
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
 
Location. 47° 14.575′ N, 88° 27.025′ W. Marker is in Calumet, Michigan, in Houghton County. Marker is on Red Jacket Road 0.1 miles east of 4th Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is located beside the sidewalk, overlooking the Russell Snow Plow exhibit, on the east side of the Coppertown USA Mining Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 25815 Red Jacket Road, Calumet MI 49913, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Float Copper (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Calumet Theater (approx. 0.4 miles away); St. Paul the Apostle Church
Marker detail: Calumet & Vicinity Map 1915 image. Click for full size.
NPS Image, Keweenaw NHP Archives
2. Marker detail: Calumet & Vicinity Map 1915
Notice the abundance of railroad tracks converging in the industrial area between Red Jacket (Calumet) and Laurium. A mix of mining company tracks and passenger carriers crossed through local communities. Today, only fragments of these lines exist; one is right before you.
(approx. 0.4 miles away); The Italian Hall / Italian Hall Tragedy (approx. half a mile away); The Amphidrome / The Birth of Professional Hockey (approx. 9.9 miles away); Historic Houghton (approx. 9.9 miles away); The First Finnish Newspaper in America (approx. 10 miles away); Trinity Episcopal Church (approx. 10.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Calumet.
 
More about this marker. Marker is a large composite plaque, mounted horizontally, on waist-high posts.
 
Also see . . .
1. Railroad Snow Plows. One of the first, and most common types of railroad snow plows used was the wedge plow. As its name implies the wedge plow used a simple wedged design, in later years made from reinforced iron or steel. The railroad snow plow itself was usually attached to the front of either a customized rail car of some type with a pilot house attached to the top for the spotting crew. One of the most common types of wedge plows were those built by the Russell Snow Plow Company, which began manufacturing the machines after World War I. Developed
Marker detail: Opening areas the Russell Snowplow couldn't reach... image. Click for full size.
NPS Photo, Keweenaw NHP Archives, Foster Collection, Glass Plate #178
3. Marker detail: Opening areas the Russell Snowplow couldn't reach...
Surface laborers finish clearing the tracks. Even with the present day's technological improvements of snowblowers, bulldozers, and front-end loaders, manual labor is still sometimes necessary.
with a bit of versatility, Russells were equipped with wings attached to the outside of what was known as the "tongue" (the wedge device that actually plowed the snow clear of the track), which could be adjusted. All wedge plows could not propel themselves and required being pushed by a locomotive. (Submitted on August 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. Images of Russell Snowplows on exhibit. (Submitted on August 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.)
 
Categories. Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
 
Clearing the Way Marker (<i>wide view; Russell Snowplow in background</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 2, 2017
4. Clearing the Way Marker (wide view; Russell Snowplow in background)
Russell Snowplow (<i>side view; marker visible at far right</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 2, 2017
5. Russell Snowplow (side view; marker visible at far right)
Russell Snowplow (<i>front / "tongue" view; adjustable "wings" visible behind the tongue</i>) image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, August 2, 2017
6. Russell Snowplow (front / "tongue" view; adjustable "wings" visible behind the tongue)
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 28, 2018. This page originally submitted on August 26, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 46 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 27, 2018, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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