Historically speaking

Lake that disappeared

ISHPEMING — Lake Angeline shows up early in the history of Ishpeming. It was named by Captain Sam Moody, supposedly in honor of the wife of an acquaintance of his. It was once the water supply for the city of Ishpeming. It also had iron ore mines ringing the edges of the lake and more importantly a good-sized body of ore under the lake.

“Last summer an exploring shaft was sunk on the north bank of the lake (Angeline) to a depth of about 110 feet, this resulting in the finding of nothing more than the fact that formation was favorable and that the natural dip of the diorite bluff at whose base work was done, would probably carry the ore out under the lake some distance. Operations were therefore suspended until the ice on the lake was firm enough to support a diamond drill when one was put in position and started. The first boring gave as a result 29 feet of dirt, 83 feet of ore. The second 44 ½ feet of dirt, 94 feet of soap rock capping, 75 feet of ore; the third with dirt capping gave some 240 feet of ore, this going to prove a very large deposit. Regarding the quality, assays of the core extracted yielded 64.35 per cent, in metallic iron, was well under the Bessemer limit as to phosphorus and its appearance was similar to that of the best soft ore taken from the Lake Angeline, on the opposite side of the lake.” (Iron Ore, May 21, 1887)

There were multiple problems to be resolved before any mining could take place.

“In the case of the lands surrounding Lake Angeline, as they were sold in terms by the government sub-division and not as lots, the owner of each sub-division own all that part of the land under the lake which would be included within the lines of the sub-division if they were carried across the water. The question of ownership does not bother the companies near as much as this one: how will the waters of the lake affect the mine?” (Iron Ore, May 21, 1887)

“Lake Angeline is several feet lower this spring than at a corresponding period last year, and every foot’s decrease means a corresponding thickening of its contents. The lake is spring fed, the very purest water flowing into it, but it is contaminated by drainage from the shore.

There is an ordinance which prevents boating and fishing in the lake, yet all during the past winter wood roads were in operation across its icy surface, and the amount of objectionable matter resulting from this fact was far in excess of the damage a poor little boat could exert. The Ishpeming cow delighted in strolling upon the lake’s surface, and pigs, geese and other domestic animals that are far more objectionable than an inoffensive fish line. The Cleveland company has been building stockpiles, dumping earth into the lake that roils the water and is not at all beneficial. There are big bodies of hematite beneath the lake that must be gotten out and the lake stands in the way, daily threatening life and property.

The lake will have to go!” (Iron Ore, April, 13, 1889)

Lake Sally proved to be a good source for drinking water, which solved one of the problems in getting to the ore. The biggest obstacle to mining the lake still had to be conquered.

“The Mining Journal and Daily Press state that Lake Angeline is fast being filled with earth, and that but a short time will elapse before it will completely be occupied by material deposited therein by the mines situated along the shore. While considerable dirt has been dumped into the lake for the making of stockpile and railroad track foundations, there is a vast space yet occupied by water, and one that would require several years labor at the present rate of filling to exclude the water therefrom. Besides the foundations are now about finished. One hundred and fifty acres of hole possessing an average depth of 25 feet would take some time, labor, and money to fill with earth. There has been talk of draining the water of the lake so as to facilitate the mining of the ore bodies known to exist beneath it, but thus far no definite arrangement has been decided upon by those interested.” (Iron Ore, October 17, 1891)

“Mr. F.P. Mills, agent of the Cleveland Iron Mining company, has agreed upon a contract with B.C. Howell, of New York, for the pumping of the water of Lake Angeline and the task will be commenced within a few weeks. A centrifugal pump having a 20-inch suction and a 22-inch discharge will be used, it being of the Howell pattern. It will be mounted upon a scow, placed in the middle of the lake and steam will be supplied by a 7-foot vertical boiler. There will have to be a crib constructed, the timbers for which are already selected, and a launder 4×5 feet will also have to be prepared. This pump has a capacity of 20,000 gallons per minute for the light lift and 15,000 gallons per minute on high lift.

The lake covers an area of 153 acres. Its maximum depth is 43 feet and the mean depth is 20 feet. There are 800,000,000 gallons to be lifted, to say nothing of the inflow that will take place from the numerous springs while the pumping is in progress, and is, of course, attended with great expense on the part of the companies interested – the Cleveland, Lake Superior and Lake Angeline, all of which have ore beneath the waters of the lake.” (Iron Ore, March 12, 1892)

“It is thought it (the pumping) will take about five months to complete the pumping. That is the limit provided by the terms of the contract.” (Iron Ore, March 12, 1892)

“The water in the once beautiful Lake Angeline continues each day to grow less. The work of draining the lake has so far progressed as to render it necessary to move the pump again. This move will be the final one. The flume has been completed to the point where the pump is to be next set to work, and the pump was moved yesterday. The contractors think, if they have fairly good luck, the bottom of Lake Angeline will be visible in twenty days.” (Minig Journal, August 25, 1892)

“The water of Lake Angeline is practically removed; but there is yet a great amount of mud in the bottom of the basin that is practically as great a menace to mining as the water itself and is much more difficult to get rid of. As the water has receded from the shore the soft silt has followed it, until there is now in bottom of the basin something like twenty feet of it. There is talk of driving iron pipes into it, the end entering the mud being perforated so as to take the water away from the mud, which is now the consistency of cream.” (Iron Ore, November 26, 1892)

“Mr. C.M. Howell, who had the contract for the pumping of Lake Angeline, has completed the same, and on Thursday went east to spend New Year at home. He took with him the contract price, and although the profits of the work were not as large as they should have been, due to the many unforeseen obstacles, yet he came out ahead and was satisfied, in the face of the much that arose to hinder, to be able to do this.” (Iron Ore, December 31, 1892)


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