Before moving on with my Anatomy of a Mill series (is that groans I hear?), I decided to give you all a little break and present something a little fun. I have had many requests for more installments of our “Then and Now” series which compares old photos of the Copper Country with more modern versions. Today I honor those requests – but with a twist. I call it the Ghosts of Calumet.
What you see is not a colorized archive photo – though at first glance it does appear that way. This is a composition of an old archive photo (the black and white portions) with a modern photo taken at the same spot. This is taken at the head of 5th Street, with the newly refurbished Union Building on the right and the Keweenaw Heritage Center (St. Anne’s Church) on the left. The intersection looks much the same as it did around the turn of the century, except for the notably exception of the old YMCA building which use to sit up against the Union Building.
The YMCA building was one of the town’s more ornate buildings, rising over three stories in height and featuring arched set-backs along the upper floors and a elegant curved corner facade facing the Scott Street intersection. In its basement was the towns first indoor pool, which proved very popular to local kids. Unfortunately the building was torn down, and a car lot now sits on its original footprint.
The great Calumet Opera House and Village Hall still stands on the corner of Elm and 6th still today, but most of its original neighbors have not been so lucky. Here is the old Copper Range Hotel, originally built as the Auditorium Hotel. As the Auditorium the hotel had gained a less then upstanding reputation, but with its re-launch around the turn of the century as the Copper Range that reputation improved dramatically. The building was later bought by the Calumet Brewing Company (for the grand sum of $18,000 no less) and its saloon used to promote the company’s brew.
The row of men in the foreground are a group of Odd Fellows, both figuratively and literally. They belong to the International Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F), which were a fraternal organization which had a lodge of their own down on 5th Street (in the building most recently occupied by Calumet Drug).
Here is a look at the 400 block of 5th Street, when it still was occupied by buildings. Today almost all those buildings are gone – victims to a series of intentionally set fires which ravaged the block a half dozen years ago. Today almost nothing is left along this stretch of road – save two lone buildings on the east side of the road (North End Framing is one of them). But at least we can remember what it once looked like.
The Ruppe Department Store is one of Calumet’s most grand structures, but it was once joined by another building of high beauty and art. Here is the old First National Bank Building, a beautifully constructed sandstone block featuring intricate arches and entranceway columns. More recently the building has been replaced by a modern single story structure which was once home to Woolworths. Today its a Family Dollar.
The 100 and 200 blocks of Calumet may be the most vibrant in the village today, but that distinction once belonged to the 300 block as shown here. Two of the village’s most successful early businesses were here, the Central Hotel on the left and the Glass Block Store on the right. The Central Hotel was the villages largest and most popular, serving the community for many decades. The Glass Block Store was the second largest department store in Calumet – just behind the Vertin Bros Store on Oak Street. The Glass Block featured three stories (plus a basement) of general merchandise, and was considered somewhat “high scale”.
Both buildings are no longer standing. The Central Hotel was replaced by a rather plain-looking material warehouse for Ace Hardware, while the Glass Block footprint is now occupied by the water department.