Stanrock Two

When I got up today, the forecast showed mostly cloudy with rain in the morning. I looked out the window and saw that it was sunny, not a cloud in the sky. So, I decided to do that extra exploring I meant to do last time I went out. I headed over to the Stanrock mine site and, as usual, no one else was there. This time I knew which road to take.

A short distance after you go past the gate at the Stanrock mine site, there is an intersection of three roads, each going off in different directions. I now know that the road to the left leads downhill to that pipeline with the walkway along it and the two pump houses. The road in the middle leads to the top of Rooster Rock, so that leave the road to the right, which is the one I will be taking today.

Right at the beginning of this road, there was a stack of unused PVC pipes.

A little bit further in, I saw a lake through the trees, so I did a bit of bushwhacking to get in there and take a picture of it. Now that most of the leaves are down, it’s quite easy to see through the bush. This lake didn’t have a name.

I continued down the road, which became very overgrown and hard to see, until I reached, what looked like, a rock quarry.

They use these rock quarries to blast out the rock and break it up into smaller pieces to use for dams to keep contaminated water from entering the surrounding environment.

There were still some fall colours around but not too much.

Obviously, this road is not being used too much anymore. The other road, that goes to the pump houses, is a good gravel road, because there is equipment in the pump houses that needs to be maintained.

I’m heading down. That’s Quirke Lake down there in the distance.

On the right side of the road, is this big, solid rock hill, and on the left side of the road is this;

That’s Rooster Rock, where I went last time I was here. The sun was just over top of Rooster Rock, so any of the pictures I took in that direction turned out dark. I continued downhill, until I was close to the bottom, where I found this;

This is the first mine cap that I have found. The other ones I visited had earth piled on top of them, but they still had the same candy cane shaped pipes coming up out of them.

It appears that this is the Stanrock Two mine, so there must have been a Stanrock One mine, but I’m not sure where that is located yet. I’ll do some more research and see if I can find out.
There would have been, what they call, a head frame mounted over top of this hole when the mine was working. In the head frame there was mounted a huge iron wheel, which had a very thick steel cable on it to haul the elevator up and down the mine shaft.

Across the lake from Rooster Rock, there is another high spot. This is a long shot of that rocky cliff. Believe it or not, that massive rock face is three and a half kilometer away. I had to use lots of zoom to get it.

Looking down the rugged shoreline.

There were lots of large chunks of white quartz in the piles of rock around the site. I walked around the site for a while, and along the shoreline a bit.

The lake was a bit choppy today, that’s why I don’t like paddling Quirke lake too much. It’s too big and gets too rough, even with the slightest of breezes.

I walked along this shoreline a bit because there was something that I wanted to see down there.

I first noticed this wooden structure when I came kayaking along the shoreline here a while back.

I’m guessing that this was used to support a pipeline that used to run along the top of it, something like the pipeline that I walked along the last time, when I went down the other road here. I’m also guessing that the purpose of this pipeline was probably to extract water from the mine shaft, since they would have had to have a pump running 24/7 to keep the mine from filling up with water while they were working it.

This structure had probably been here for as long as I’ve been alive, and it looks as old as I do too!

Again, you can see Rooster Rock in the distance there.

Another shot of the Stanrock Two mine cap, with Quirke Lake in the background.

At this point I headed back uphill to the road.

I took a few pictures along Stanrock Road on the way out. There are some very sharp drops off the side of the road, and there are no guard rails along this road, so rubber necking is not advisable.

The truck has been running good, ever since I got the new starter put in it, but it’s gonna take a while for me to get over that fear of turning the ignition key and nothing happens.

There is no cell service here, and it’s ten kilometers back out to the highway. At least it’s not as bad as when I was up at Mississagi Provincial Park. Now that’s a long way from any kind of help.

I’ll have to find out one time, if these are actually rocks out of the mines, or if this rock has been blasted from one of those rock quarries that I visited today.

I think I’m gonna have to throw it into four-wheel drive for this hill.

Interesting speed limit sign.

Mellon Lake, another nice little spot to camp for the night along Stanrock Road.

So, that was my outing for today. I have it in mind to do a kayaking trip on Elliot Lake tomorrow, but I don’t know if the weather will cooperate. It’s not like I can depend on the forecast, so I’ll just have to see how things look when I wake up in the morning.

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15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Carole Tutic on December 27, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    I lived in the Stanrock Mine trailer park as a child from about 1958 to 1963. It was great seeing all your pictures of the area today. I just don’t know if the trailer park I lived at was mine no. 1 or 2. How can I find out? Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Marcel Madore on October 20, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    Hello,

    My memory of Stanrock Mine which I believe to be Stanrock One, because as a child it was on top of a very high rock mountain. When you would first arrive at Stanrock Mine you would come to a mine gate. The mine property was completely fence. Facing the gate, if you looked to your right side, there was a trailer park right there which I believe was trailer park # 2. Facing the gate again if you look to your left and went up along the mine fence was trailer park # 1. Again facing the gate if you look farther left past trailer park # 1 to your left you would see another trailer park which I believe was trailer park # 3. If you drove through trailer park # 3 and went down the road a little you would come to trailer park # 4 which is where Carole lived and if you drove through # 4 and went down the road a little more you would come to where a small public school was built and at one time a small bilingual school was built at the fare end of the playground. Now if you drove pass the school turn off and went down the road a little more you would come to trailer park # 5 and if you keep going down the road further you would come to a steep hill and when you drove down that hill you would come to what was called a town site. Here there was homes built for the bosses at the mine. It was also by the lake and there was a public beach for all to use. That is my memory of how Stanrock Mine was laid out. Stanrock Mine was 18 miles from Elliot Lake, 9 mile of paved hwy and 9 miles of gravel road.When you turned off the main hwy onto the gravel road heading to Stanrock, about half way you would come to what was called a gravel pit where there was also a trailer park and across the road from the trailer park was the same lake that Stanrock Mine was on the edge of.

    Reply

    • Hi Marcel, it’s always great to hear some history from those that were here long before I came on the scene. I love exploring these old mine sites, in fact, I was just at the Denison Mine site today. I’m sure that they look completely different now, than they did back then when they were being worked. I had heard about all the small trailer parks, that were built to house the miners and the management, and I’ve seen some old pictures of them too. Some of these mines were being worked before I was even born, and I’m 62 now. I’ve visited most of the mine sites in this area, but I still have a lot more exploring to do in most of them.

      Yes, the Stanrock One mine was up on top of, what they now call, Rooster Rock. I was just there, with my brother, about two weeks ago. It ‘s one of my favorite places to visit, especially in the fall, when the trees a changing colour. It’s hard to imagine these places being a beehive of activity back then. When I go into these places, it’s like the population of earth has disappeared. It’s so quiet, and remote. I love that feeling. The lake that the Stanrock mine was on is Quirke Lake. From your description, I can visualize how it might have looked back then. I can’t say that working in those mines would be a job that I’d like too much, but I guess you have to do whatever you have to do.

      Reply

  3. Posted by glen Patriquin on December 19, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    I lived at Stan Rock Mine site . I was young. We lived in a gravel pit trailer park. My dad Built a house a small 1 room building we lived in. I think everyone was kicked out of there . We moved to a big apartment complex at the bottom of a big hill. then we lived on a house that the mine put up for for shift bosses and such. I went to school there up to grade 3.I remember the water line we used to play on it. It was enclosed in a wooden box and I think they heated the line in the winter . We used to run on it.
    I remember the day the water tower on top of Rooster rock blew its top. the story goes they were pumping into the water tower but they forgot to open the vent the hydraulic pressure blew the top of . It was shaped like a home made rocket
    My dad came home one day and told us the mine closed and we had to move .
    So we ended up in Timmins Ontario. If anyone has any old pictures of the town site I would really like to see them. It is a part of my going up I would like to remember.

    Reply

    • Excellent story Glen. I really like hearing these types of stories about the places I visit when I’m out hiking. It’s amazing how things change and life goes on. I didn’t know that there was a water tower up on Rooster Rock. I’ve seen some old pictures of some of the mine sites on the internet, and I believe that they do have some at the local mining museum also. I’ve heard about the trailer parks that were in the mine sites for the workers to live in. I’ve also been able, in some cases, to see where buildings or trailers existed. It’s all so quiet and peaceful in these places now, makes it hard to believe that it was once so industrious and busy. Life goes on, places and people change, but life is indifferent.

      Reply

    • Posted by Cathy Walsh on January 3, 2014 at 3:48 pm

      Hi we lived in Stanrock my dad was a boss I believed at the mine, and we also moved to Timmins after where my dad worked at Texas Gulf not the concentrator. Our last name was Walsh. We were cousins to Ned Lawlors wife. We had lived beside the Truman’s. Did you know the Wilsons

      Reply

      • Hello Cathy;

        I only moved to Elliot Lake in the last 3 years, so I didn’t really know anyone from back then. However, some of the other readers may know more. Ironically, my sisters husbands name is John Walsh.

  4. Posted by Cathy Walsh on January 3, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Hi we lived in Stanrock in the 60s. My dads name was Calvis Walsh

    Reply

  5. Posted by Peter Hunkin on September 9, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    What a nice surprise to find your blog and photos! I often wonder what the mine site looks like now! I spent the summer of 1958 living and working on the Stanrock mine site.

    My friend and I worked for Dominion Catering who ran the mess hall at Stanrock and several other mines. We were 15yrs old, city boys, unsupervised and treated our stay as a grand adventure. In addition to the mess hall, Dominion operated a small grocery store and a commissary.

    My friend worked in the grocery store and I assisted the commissary manager. The commissary was large, sold confectioneries, tobacco products and work clothes. It was also a meeting place in the evening. It was the main attraction along with the boxing and wrestling club.

    I don’t think Rooster Rock had a name at the time. It is spectacular! If it was located in Muskoka, or Haliburton it would be a major tourist attraction. Quirke Lake is also spectacular in its own right, especially when the wind gets up. It’s not a place to be in a small boat.

    I’m hoping to go there, one more time and photograph it.

    Reply

    • Wow Peter, it’s such a pleasure to hear from people who worked in these mine sites so long ago. I have heard from others also, and they all seem to have fond memories of that era. I’m certainly old enough to remember the fifties, although I was just a kid. It must have felt even more remote up here back then, than it does now. I love exploring these sites, and imagining how things might have been back then.

      You’re absolutely right about Rooster Rock. I can’t believe that it’s not used more than it is now, but I’m quite happy to be one of the few who know it’s splendor, especially in the upcoming fall season. I’ve gotten many excellent photo’s from way up there, and I’ll be back again this fall to get more. I very rarely see anyone else up there. Thanks for taking the time to add some, much appreciated, perspective on how things really were back then.

      Reply

      • Its interesting to read all the comments and conjectures about what probably went on at Stanrock in the early days. I first showed up on Rooster Rock sometime in 1954. Have a photo of the first blast collaring #1 shaft on Rooster Rock. Probably 1955 or 1956. It is a shame the ultimate depth of this shaft is not indicated at the collar site. Number 2 shaft was unique in Canadian mining history as it was the only continuous pour reinforced concrete free standing headframe in the country. It could have been left as a visual testimony to the efforts of those pioneers who put Elliot Lake on the map To me, demolishing this structure, was akin to demolishing the pyramids or the great wall of China in the name of preserving the visual sterility. Very little is mentioned in records of what was done inside of Rooster Rock itself. It was also a first in the annals of Canadian mining. Its too bad we chose to wipe out records of our historic accomplishments in the name of environmentalism. It would have been nice to be able to show our great grand children some records of what had been done.

      • Thanks so much Oliver, for taking the time to give us a history lesson on the Stanrock mine. I really like hearing from you people who were actually there at that time. Ya, I can see why you might have liked to see the Stanrock Two headframe left as a sort of memorial, but I guess there were government regulations involved regarding what needed to be done to restore the site to a natural state. Also, Rooster Rock is a sacred site to the native people up here, so I’m sure that they would have had some say in how the site was to be restored. I can only imagine what lies underneath all that rock there, the shafts straight down, and then the compartments out to the sides, all likely filled with water now. I also found, in my research, that a ventilation shaft was constructed between the Stanrock Two shaft, and the CanMet mine shaft, which is a pretty fair distance. At least both the Stanrock shafts were left visible via the concrete caps, and not covered with earth like other mine shafts in the area were. We also have to remember that uranium mining had its two sides to the coin. A lot of mine workers died because of working in those mines, and the material they were mining was mostly used to make weapons to kill other people, so, even though there were definitely some major accomplishments, there was also the dark side of that mining industry. Having said that, I do enjoy, very much, being able to hike in these mine sites, which have many miles of dirt/gravel roads that I can walk on. It makes exploring the wilderness in this area so much easier, and it also adds a bit of extra interest as far as seeing what is left of the mines, and where they were actually located.

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