First National Bank

Calumet and Laurium are geographical close enough to be considered one town but were light years apart in terms of character. While Calumet consisted of miners, railroad workers and the like; Laurium housed the upper crust of the Copper Country. Here lived the shopkeepers, mine captains, railroad owners, and millionaires. While Calumet was surrounded by rows of small homogeneous mine houses built by mine companies; Laurium’s tree-lined streets consisted of victorian houses and expansive mansions built by renown architects and designers. The difference was night and day.

Time, however, was not kind to Laurium. While Calumet managed to cling to life for decades and now experiences a resurgence thanks to the national park; Laurium simply faded away. Now mostly empty and decaying storefronts and buildings remain along Laurium’s business district. There are reminders of Laurium’s more opulent past however. One of these is the First National Bank building sitting at the villages front door.

on the corner of Hecla and 3rd; the First National Bank of Laurium

One of the more unique buildings built around Calumet, this once grand bank looks like nothing else around. The deep red sandstones and copper accents of the era were ignored in favor of maroon bricked and ivory ornamented jewel. While time has not been kind, its elegance and distinctiveness still catches your eye. Take a moment and follow me on a little tour.

the column and arched entranceway at the corner of the building

a closer look at the entranceway, showing the ionic styled capitals and fluted column. The holes in the arch might have contained lights at one time

the intricate tiles floor of the entranceway, with the name of the bank spelled out

a view up from the entrance to the Hecla street facade of the building. Not the ivory cornice along the top of the building

An ornamentally detailed plaster cornice adorns the building. Unusual in the Copper Country where copper or tin was the norm

a look at the building’s frieze just below the cornice

a closer look at the cornice and frieze elements which are showing signs of detoriation

a rather elaborate sign above the entrance to the upper floors

a close look above the upper floor entrance clearly showing the “peices” of ornamentation that were fitted together

an odd embossment added to the corner of the building

a closer look to the corner decoration. Notice the change in brick direction from horizontal to vertical (a nice touch)

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  1. I run ‘The Yard Sale’, which the bank is currently part of. I am always looking for information on the history of this bank, and would especially like to find someone with pictures of the inside when the bank was in operation.

    I also know somebody looking for information on a relative who was a past president of the bank (can’t remember his name).

    Any info. would be appreciated. Here’s a link to picture from outside. I think I have a couple others somewhere if anyone needs them.

    – jim

  2. Jim – Your building is one of the most interesting I’ve seen around the Copper Country. Its good to see that its still being used and not left to rot away like other buildings in Laurium. I’ve been inside your store multiple times and am always amazed by the historic details inside – its an interesting place to shop. I hope someone out there can help you out, good luck!

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