An Architectural Beauty

Today we take a look at one of the Copper Country’s most beautiful buildings – at least in my opinion. Built in 1887 for the great Calumet and Hecla Mining company, this intricately assembled masonry building housed the company’s main administration and clerical offices. Built along the Keweenaw’s main north-south corridor (US41 today) and at the main entrance to downtown Red Jacket, this impressive structure served as a physical reminder of the company’s complete dominion over the surrounding landscape. Metaphorically it also stood as a tribute to the company’s strength and longevity, and in turn outlived the company that built it by nearly half a century. This was a company that was proud of its accomplishments, and wanted the world to know all that it had accomplished. Towards that end C&H hired what must have been the country’s best masons to create the masterpiece of architecture that stands today.

The building stands two and a half stories in height, with a raised basement level. Its outer walls are intricately pieced together by a rag-tag assortment of rock and rubble. Accenting those walls are a rather generous supply of brick highlights surrounding the building’s windows and doorways – as well as these rather stately quoins running down the building’s corners.

Here’s a closer look at both of the building’s main materials.

Up along the eaves those brick highlights become even more elaborate. You wouldn’t think that just simple brick could be used in such artistic and impressive ways. You just don’t see this type of detail or craftsmanship in any building built in the region today.

Like with any building built before the wide adoption of electric lighting, the C&H offices were blessed with a generous amount of windows. These double wide openings are outfitted with the usual brick highlights around its casement including the arched header.

In the years that followed the building’s original erection C&H grew by leaps in bounds and quickly outgrew the building’s footprint. In 1900 a wing was added to the building’s north end – a portion of which can be seen to the right in the photo above. In less then a decade the building would become outgrown yet again, and a second addition was added to its east end. (see on the left in the picture)

That second addition was rather large, and was built in the same style as the original building. C&H obviously brought back those talented artists to create yet another equally stunning piece of stone work. Instead of the larger windows seen in the original structure, this addition was clad with an arcade of smaller and narrow windows that rand along the entire length of the building. Here’s a closer look:

Stunning.

The use of those smaller windows is continued across the new addition’s east facade. Since this side of the building faced the adjacent street (US41) it was given a formalized entrance of its own, even though the building’s main entrance was still back on the original part of the structure.

Here’s a closer look at the entrance in question. What are those, 12 foot ceilings in there? (click on the image for an even bigger view) Someday I’ll have to arrange myself a tour and get some inside shots. I’m sure the inside of the building is as equally interesting. Perhaps another day….

9 comments

  1. guess reason calumet high school has big old windows must be for lighting also–even basement that had wood and machine shops–note richard–boss–simonson was machine shop teacher–never went college –was a journeyman machinist–only was trained for that work—-at that time you had woodshop for freshman yr with industrial course–we had mr light–ben Holman was for last 3 yrs of woodshop-mr pope was drafting teacher —I was student 1950-54–walt kitty just started around that time–coach bob lockwood was drafted back into army for korean war–joe mischica was asst yet for freshmen— just little history again–tony

  2. One awesome building.

  3. It’s one of my favorites too.

  4. I was in this building this summer on my Mine tour, I only saw the lobby and bathrooms, but it was very nice on the inside, wonderful woodwork and tall ceilings. And yes, it is the NPS office building, we talked to the Ranger there for a little while and he pulled out some photo albums with some pretty nice photos in it.

  5. This building is a masterpiece.This building and the one across form the Quincy Mine with the fallout shelter signs are two of my favorites.

  6. Hoaglund’s “Mine Towns” talks about the construction of the office building and notes that at the time of its building, it was not seen as architecturally pleasing. I agree with you however, and find it to be one of the more appealing buildings in the district.

  7. Isn’t this the KNHP’s headquarters now? Shouldn’t be too hard to arrange a tour.

  8. Chicaugan Lake Jim

    I’d love to see the inside of this building too! Too bad you couldn’t make this part of a CCE get together for 2011! Just a thought.

  9. I’d love to see an inside view of the building! I’m also glad that the huge windows are still there, not replaced with smaller ones. Way too many buildings here have been disfigured by tiny windows filling in huge window openings. I understand why, of course, but they just look awful.

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