Calumet BreweryCCE NotesIndustryLakeviewLocations

Lakeview and its Brewery

As the Copper Country reached the end of the 19th century, the booming village of Red Jacket and its surrounding communities had begun to reach their limits of expansion. Surrounding on all sides by mine property off limits to development, any new businesses or residents hoping to make the mining village their home faced impossible odds in finding affordable and available space. In response enterprising individuals and mine companies with copper-barren property began selling off lots of their own land outside of the village proper, creating a series of small communities scattered about the area.  These new “towns” offered far more affordable and most importantly available land for new businesses and industries to take root. One of these towns was erected on useless land sitting about two miles from Red Jacket – along a high ridge overlooking Lake Superior. Unsurprising the town would become known as Lakeview.

The Calumet Metropolis ca 1917
The Calumet Metropolis
Lakeview was platted in 1894, consisting of sixteen blocks set along Mine Road – today known as Tamarack Waterworks Road. The road’s name was not derived from any neighboring mine, but instead was most likely named due to the Tamarack No.5 Shaft sitting at the road’s southern end. The town was situated north to south, with east-west roads given numerical names and north-south roads provided more unique names. On the platt’s east end was the before-named Mine Street, while to the west side was the ridge-running road Lake Street. Between then could be found Washington Street, Michigan Street, and Main Street cutting the platt directly down its center.  Unlike other platts there was no land set aside for any public green space though there was a small creek running through its southern end – a creek which would later receive its name based on the town’s most famous resident.

The Miswald Brewery

The paint was still wet in Lakeview when a pair of brothers from Ontonagon – Joseph and Martin Miswald – looked to expand their brewery business into the booming Red Jacket area. The brother’s had previously operated a brewery out of an old church in Ontonagon, a brewery which was destroyed in the great Ontonagon fire of 1896. Leaving the scarred remains of the town behind, the brothers looked for a new market in which to restart operations and settled upon the burgeoning village of Red Jacket. At the time Red Jacket didn’t have a brewery of its own with the nearest competitor – the Bosch Brewery – sitting far down the hill in the mill town of Lake Linden.  Fresh with new funds and a new determination the brothers looked to Lakeview as the future home of their new operation. The town fit their needs perfectly: it was affordable, accessible to Red Jacket by means of a well-maintained road, and best of all had a convenient source of fresh water required for their beer right at its doorstep – that spring-fed stream on the town’s eastern end.

Thus in 1897  the brothers bought up over a dozen lots at the corner of Mine and Second Streets right alongside that supply of water – a creek unsurprisingly known today as Brewery Creek. There they erected themselves a massive modern brewery to rival all others in the region. Thanks to their unfortunate recent fire experience, the brothers made sure that this new brewery was built to be as fire proof as possible. Towards that end its walls were built completely out of stone, its structures resembling something more akin to the massive mine buildings found up the road in Red Jacket. With the town sporting its own industry, remaining lots began to sell and soon the sprawling complex was joined by several single-family homes.

Unfortunately Lakeview’s most important landmark was not to last, as just two years after its completion the brothers were struck with tragedy yet again as another fire swept through the structure in 1899 resulting in over $30,000 in damage. This was the last straw for the Miswald Brothers, as both their original brewery in Ontonagon and their beer depot in L’Anse had also been destroyed by fire in the previous few years. Thus the brothers skipped town abandoning their destroyed Lakeview brewery in the process,  leaving everything – including brewing vats still filled with beer – behind. With taxes due the ruined property went to auction and was bought up by a newly formed corporation whose board consisted of a who’s who of Calumet area  saloon owners -Joseph Schroeder, Marcus Sterk, and Frank Schumaker to name just a few. The group would go to work rebuilding the ruined property – rebranding the old facility as the Calumet Brewing Company.

The First Calumet Brewery
The First Calumet Brewery

The Calumet Brewery

The new rebranded Calumet Brewery began operations the next year, shipping its signature “Calumet Select” brew to saloons all throughout the region. The company touted its clean and pure water source, plastering on each of its labels the motto “pure and without drugs or poison”. Business would be slow but good, and after six years of operation the company managed to pay out its first dividends marking its emergence as one of the Copper Country’s premier brewing companies on par with the likes of Bosch and Haas. The company would soon thereafter reinvest heavily in its aging brewery which had become outgrown by the burgeoning business. The building would undergo a complete transformation from end to end, converted along the way from its traditional horizontal layout to the more efficient and modern “Tower” layout.

The New Calumet Brewery
The New Calumet Brewery
The transformation was impressive, converting what was in reality just a patched together burnt out structure into something far more permanent. The old brewery’s two sections were connected together via a new section of poor rock wall while a trio of brand new brick floors were set on top. Most noticeable was the replacement of the original iron stack with a new towering brick stack rising up from a new rubble stone base. Additionally a one story brick addition was added to the south-west corner – a structure housing the facility’s new shipping warehouse.

The new “Tower” design utilized the power of gravity to help streamline the brewing process – in much the same way as mines adopted tall rock houses to better process its rock. In this design the main ingredients used in beer making – malt and water –   are stored high up in the top of the structure. From there those ingredients make their way through various steps of production, gravity being used to move the product from one stage to the next. At the base of the building can be found the fermentation rooms where the last step in the process is carried out. Also found in the building’s base is its boiler room and brewery engine – a steam powered engine used via connected belts and pulleys to power various machines in the building including the pumps used to bring the water up to the top of the structure in the first place.

This new improved Calumet Brewery at Lakeview would be the pride of the company and as such was used prominently on the label of its beers. It was a rather idyllic version, however, as it shows a far more park-like setting then was actually the case. For a company whose motto was “pure and without poison” I’m sure it was important to put their best face forward even if it was a bit exaggerated.

Downtown Lakeview
Downtown Lakeview
The truth of the matter was closer to this – a view of the brewery around 1910. The rough dirt road fronting the building was Mine Street, today known as Tamarack Waterworks Road. Just behind the brewery is Third Street, which today is a continuation of Tamarack Waterworks as it makes its turn westward. Further up the hill Mine Street continues, but today we know that road as Dextrom.  As can clearly be seen here those roads are far from the clean and well groomed thoroughfare’s the Calumet Brewery label shows, nor is there a single sidewalk to be seen. Worst yet the hardscrabble landscape which lines those roads is far from a park setting, looking more like some desolate stretch of frontier land. Yet even despite appearances this was a brewery at the top of its game. The company was in its prime, its brews highly popular throughout the region and its growth assured for years to come. Success had finally arrived to the Lakeview brewery.

Encouraged by that success, the Calumet Brewing Company began to flex its muscles in taking on its main competitors in the hopes to become the region’s No.1 selling beer. Towards that end the company spent $18,000 in 1910 to purchase the Copper Range Hotel in Calumet – a building sitting on one of the region’s most valuable pieces of real estate along Calumet’s booming Sixth Street. Not only was the hotel right across the street from the Calumet Opera House, the interurban line passed right in front.  It was a move mirroring the Bosch Brewery’s purchase of the Hotel Michigan down the street just five years earlier, who would use the hotel and its saloon to promote its brews. Additionally the company would also invest in one of the newest pieces of technology available at the time – the gas powered delivery truck. This was one of the first such trucks to be used in the Calumet region, serving not only as an efficient method of beer delivery but also as a rolling advertisement that garnered attention wherever it roamed.

Yet for all its success storm clouds were on the horizon. The temperance movement was gaining momentum, and before the decade was out alcohol production and distribution would become illegal in the United States. Suddenly all the Calumet Brewing Company’s success and popularity meant nothing – as it and the rest of the brewing industry was suddenly out of business. The Calumet Brewery attempted to wait Prohibition out, by re-tasking its Lakeview plant into soda pop and “near beer” production in the years to follow. Yet it was endeavor that proved futile, as the Calumet Brewery would be forced to lay off its workforce of over 30 men and close its doors for good. It would never open again.

Lakeview in 1939
Lakeview in 1939

After the Close

In the decades that followed the great Copper Empire began to contract as the copper industry wained, and with it the old town of Lakeview faded into obscurity. The town’s remaining residents left, leaving nothing but old cellar holes in the ground. As the houses disappeared the now unused roads of the town were overtaken by the surrounding forest. After some time only the old brewery remained – the last reminder of the old town that was. The Calumet Brewery would be the most distinguishable landmark for decades more – as seen in the 1939 aerial image seen above. By that time only four streets could be seen – Mine Street (Now Tamarack Waterworks Road and Dextrom Road), Third Street (also Tamarack Waterworks Road) along with a block’s worth of Michigan Street and Second Street. The rest (shown in light white) were just cleared paths through the trees which were never developed. In fact in all only three or four blocks of the entire 16 blocks were even sold off. Even at its peak Lakeview was only home to about a dozen homes, its most prominent and important resident being from day one the Miswald Brewery. With the brewery there would be no Lakeview.

Yet even the brewery was not immune from the ravages of time.  The building would be pillaged for its equipment and machinery leaving gaping holes in its walls. By the time of that aerial image the roof had begun to collapse from years of heavy snowfalls and at some point later the building would be partially demolished, its brick-built portions including its towering smoke stack, warehouse addition, and upper floors torn down and hauled away. In the end only a shell of the old brewery remained – which consisted primarily of the old stone walls of the original Miswald structures.

The Calumet Brewery in Ruin
The Brewery in Ruin
Today that old shell can still barely be seen peeking out of the foilage along the road – the rest of the old building largely buried in brush and trees. These old rubble rock walls are the only reminder of the Lakeview that was, a town born from Calumet’s rise and in turn wiped from the map by its fall. Yet this isn’t just some turn in the road, as something substantial and influential once called this place home – an important piece of Copper Country history largely untold today.

I would like to thank the Lake Superior Collection Management Center at the Keweenaw National Historical Park for the great archive images found in this post. The park and especially archivist Jeremiah Mason have been incredibly accommodating to my request for high-resolution archive images for use here on CCE – a request that turned out to be more difficult to fulfill then I first imagined. Truth is that without the park’s and Mr. Mason’s help such high-resolution images would not even be possible. In honor of their generosity I ask that you do not copy or share the archive images found in the post without first contacting the archives with your request so they can track the image’s use. Tracking how and where the archives’ images are being used helps to insure their continued availability in the future. 

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    1. There is also a Jewish Cemetery a bit north of your maps. 4 females from the package freighter Bon Voyage fire 1901 are resting in unmarked graves.

    2. If you look at the upper lefthand corner of that map of Lakeview, one will see a small rectangle with a cross in it. It is a map marker indicating a cemetery or burial site. Across the road is a short little road which, if I remember, has been incorporated into a farm’s driveway.

  1. An interesting if somewhat random observation, Lakeview Cemetary is just past Tamarack Waterworks Rd. a bit. I’m wondering if this is where the name comes from then. I never thought to ask anybody why there was no lake in view. I’d probably have gotten in trouble for being disrespectful. Many of my family are interred there.

    1. There was more then a few places with the Lakeview name in it in the twilight of the 19th century, some spelled as one word and others as two. I would surmise that back then the hillside heading down to the lake was relatively clear of trees and you may have gotten a view of the lake if only a sliver of one. I also think there was a bit of marketing magic behind it too, if a place was called Lakeview people would just assume there’s a view of a lake.

      In regards to the cemetery, Lakeview was rather novel at its time. It was not connected to any church and was operated – and marketed – like a business. While we may take the idea of a cemetery having a park like feel with mowed lawns and manicured trees for granted, this was a new (and profitable) concept at the end of the 19th century. The idea of a cemetery as a park – which Lakeview was – most likely had something to do with its waterfront outlooking name. It just seemed more appealing, tranquil, and serene.

  2. I just read your interesting and informative article about the Calumet Brewing Co. It is one of my favorite Copper Country brewing companies. Being an old, old bottle collector today who started back in the early 70’s I was one of the folks who wrote the book on collecting and identifying old bottles used in the Copper Country that we published in 1978. Of course one of the prize collections were those bottles used by the Calumet Brewing Co. Today those 20 plus varieties along with hundreds more from soda companies and pharmacies are on display in the Copper Country Bottle Museum in the old Albion Station, home of Lake Superior Glass Works where they have been since 1978. Some of these old glass artifacts are in beautiful condition and represent the evolution of glass containers used in the brewing industry since about 1879; in the case of Calumet Brewing Co. about 1899. I have obtained more information about the brewing company over the years of my interest such as the history of the company who built the beautiful stack or chimney on the building, personal recollections of the company and the old building before it succumbed to complete ruin as well as some interesting newspaper articles relative to Miswald brothers. The bottle museum is open 4 days a week from about mid-June through October or so for people who come to watch glass blowing and go through the museum. Please email me if you want to communicate further about this wonderful bit of Copper Country history. Thanks for your great research and article and keep up the good work.

    1. I love that glass works, we visited with my son a few years ago and the gentleman running it gave him one of his ‘blems’ he claimed. It was just as pretty as the one we bought.

  3. Interesting stuff Mike. Makes me quite thirsty! Look closely at the brewery pic right before the label pic. That motorcycle has got to be one of the first in the region. Beers and bikes, no wonder this is my favorite website!
    Keep up the great work

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