Superior & Pittsburgh Shaft
S & P Shaft
The Calumet & Pittsburg Mining Company started the Hoatson Shaft in April 1905 on the Del Norte Claim. During the first week of the month, the shaft collar was set and the surface facilities were built and a temporary headframe and single drum hoist were installed. A concrete tunnel was constructed from the shaft underneath the El Paso & Southwestern Railroad tracks to the waste dumping area. At the end of April work focused on sinking the shaft. On May 22nd a new double drum hoist was installed at the shaft and by June 22nd a new wooden headframe was constructed over a period of two weeks. In the month of October, 157 ft. of shaft was sunk setting a Warren Mining District shaft sinking record. The previous records of shaft sinking in one month were held by the Higgins shaft at 108ft. and the Denn Shaft at a 127ft. This was soon followed by a World’s record set in December of 162ft. By the end of 1905 the shaft was 890.5ft. deep.
During 1906, the Calumet & Pittsburg Mining Company merged with the Lake Superior & Pittsburg and Junction Development Companies and became the Superior and Pittsburg Copper Company. Work continued and the shaft depth was increased by 418ft. and the ground was developed by 3,948ft. of crosscut. Pumps were installed on the 1200 level during 1907, but served only to raise the water to the 1000 level, where it was allowed to drain to the Junction Shaft for pumping to the surface. During the year, it was determined the wooden headframe was inadequate and plans were made for replacing it with a steel headframe. Most importantly, at this time the 1200 level had discovered important orebodies of both oxide and sulphide ores.
By 1908, the ground had been drained by pumping and left dry and the 1200 level pumps were sent to the 1400 level Junction. Also, the shaft was sunk to a final depth of 1,680 ft. On December 11th, 1908 a cager or toplander signaled a cage to be lowered. Unfortunately, the landing chairs were still supporting the cage and the cable coiled on top of the cage. Someone released the chairs and the cage fell a substantial distance until the slack in the cable was gone. The resulting jerk on the cable damaged the headframe and the Hoatson was out of operation until repairs were made. The following year was spent developing and discovering substantial ore on the 1300 and 1400 levels. An important strike occurred in October, when #228 crosscut intercepted an oxide orebody containing large masses of native copper. Some of these specimens were taken and displayed at the mine offices in Warren. A temporary pump station was cut on the 1500 level, but as this level was going to be connected with the Junction Mine. Their service was only required for a short time. A connection to the Junction on the 1500 level was completed in 1910 and allowed for improved ventilation and relief from pumping. The steel headframe planned years earlier, was completed in June and included a large toplander’s deck, but the sheave wheels were taken off the old headframe and placed on the new. Mining focused on the 1200, 1300 and 1400 levels with minor ore being recovered from the 1000 and 1100 levels.
During 1912, ore was a large orebody was developed between the 1400 and 1500 levels. In 1915 the Superior and Pittsburg Copper Company merged with the Calumet & Arizona Mining Company. In this year a connection was made with the 1400 level Junction and trolley locomotives were installed to haul ore to the Junction Shaft for hoisting.
Mine change houses were often robbed. On February 22 1916 Hoatson miner, Mike Gabovich was held 300ft. from the mine. An unknown man pointed a gun at him and told him to hand over his valuables. Gabovich instead, ran towards the Hoatson and attracted the attention of the mine watchman, W.J. Arndt. Both men pursued the would-be thief until he began firing at them.
After August 7th 1916, the Hoatson shaft was shut down and remaining ores were mined through the Briggs and Junction Shafts. Minor drifting was completed in 1917and 1918. By 1919 the Hoatson was entirely shutdown. In April 1921 the electric hoist was dismantled and reinstalled at the Lake Superior and Pittsburg #3 shaft.
During the early 1960s, the rusting headframe was still standing, but was missing two of its four sheave wheels. The toplander’s deck was battered and had lost most of its wooden plank floor. Although, the shaft was open and had downcast ventilation, it served no significant role in providing air flow to the operating mines. In 1964, the headframe was dismantled and the shaft was filled as part of the operations of the Lavender Pit. The site itself was not originally covered by dumps, but later the site was obliterated by the open pit operations. This shaft remains filled, but is only a couple hundred feet from the pit wall.