During Calumet’s more metropolitan days, this was the first thing most people saw when coming into town. Before the automobile and the highways that carried them invaded the Copper Country, most people travelled by train. This is the Mineral Range depot, where thousands of immigrants made their first steps on their adopted land. From here trolley cars from the HTC would load up passengers and bring them three blocks down Oak Street to the hustle and bustle of 6th. Along with its sister depot at Houghton, this was one of the finest along the line.
Fast forward a century and you have the depot as it looks today. Trains haven’t made it this far north since the 70′s, and any legitimate passenger service ended decades before that. Built in 1908 the building manages to stay standing – although barely. The long awning that once protected the platform has either been destroyed by heavy snow, or removed. Also missing is the large cupola the building once sported. For awhile this building was up for bid on E-bay, but I don’t know it it every sold. It looks like some preventative maintenance has been done to the rood, so their might be a future for it yet. I always thought its location on the snowmobile trail would make a great restaurant.
The HTC trolley would run down Oak street from the depot and make a turn northward the wide avenue of 6th street – shown here. This is the corner of Oak and 6th. Unlike the narrow 5th street, this street was built wide enough for a set of two trolley tracks. Before the present post office was built, it was apparently housed in the building to the right (the Ryan Block).
Today all the buildings are still standing. The rounded building on the corner of Oak still houses a bank (its original purpose). Neweman’s Appliance sits in the next building up, and the third one once housed the gas company.
A must see for any visitor to Calumet a century ago (and today) the Calumet Theater is part Opera House and part government building. Financed and built by the village in 1898 to also house the village offices, it was the ultimate statement about Calumet’s metropolitan status. The depot and trolley cars that carried immigrant to the city, also carried performers and actors from across the country to the theaters doors.
The theatre as it sits today. With the popularity of motion pictures and the depressed local economy in the 30′s, the theatre reverted to showing mainly movies. It served as such off and on for years, until the non-profit Calumet Theatre Company leased the building and returned it to its more theatrical roots. Since its original construction, garage doors were added to the north face (for fire trucks) and the bell tower was either removed or destroyed.