Laurium

It wasn’t long before C&H’s success prompted several more mine companies to set up shop nearby, bringing with them a deluge of new workers to the region. Unfortunately the small village of Red Jacket was physically unable to make room for these new arrivals, since it was bordered on all sides by C&H property. Taking advantage of the situation would be C&H’s neighbor to the east, the Laurium Mining Company. In 1877 the newly formed company began selling off lots within its land holding, platting out the village of Calumet in the process. Overflow from Red Jacket quickly moved in and Calumet’s population swelled to over 5,000. Before long this growing population would demand its own post office, and the town was forced to change its name from Calumet (a name already taken by the Red Jacket post office) to Laurium.

From the beginning Laurium was primarily a residential community, though it did mange to develop its own modest commercial district. Since most of the area’s working class lived in company provided housing, Laurium became home to primarily the rich and elite: mine managers, agents, business owners and the like. Soon the village streets became lined with some of the largest and most opulent homes in the Keweenaw – most built in the elaborate Queen Anne Style.

The First Baptist

featured

In the early years of Laurium – then known confusingly as Calumet – one of the first churches to arrive to the scene was the First Baptist, formed around 1895. The congregation elected to build itself a small wood framed church along Hecla Street around the same time. The new …

Houses of Worship and Learning

featured

When it came to sheer numbers of houses of worship the booming metropolis of Calumet just was the undisputed champion of the region. Just after the turn of the century – at the Copper Empire’s peak – the bustling village found itself home to over 20 churches, a half dozen …

Prosperity Lost (p8)

featured

After passing by the 1st National Bank you find yourself on the north end of 3rd street, and while the village continues for two more blocks up to 1st Street, the commercial district for all intents and purposes ends here. Besides a few buildings just across 3rd, the Laurium Commercial …

Prosperity Lost (p7) – The 1st National Bank Building

featured

The arrival of the State Savings Bank at the turn of the century yo the heart of Laurium’s newly developed commercial district quickly drew the interest of other banking institutions, who began to look at the juvenile village as a new source of customers. Soon a competitor would emerge and …

Prosperity Lost (p6) – The State Savings Bank Building

featured

Passing Laurium’s incredible redstone clad village hall, you find yourself arriving at the corner of 3rd and Hecla Streets – the centerpiece of Laurium’s commercial district. Like Oak Street was to neighboring Calumet, 3rd Street was the main avenue along which most visitors to Laurium would first enter the village. …

Prosperity Lost (p5) – The Laurium Village Hall

featured

With the old village of Calumet’s transformation into the village of Laurium, the newly minted village government built a modest two story wood-framed building to house the fire department and village offices. As the village grew so too did the village hall, with multiple renovations and additions culminating in the …

Prosperity Lost (p4)

featured

Following the impressive sandstone beauty that is the Marta Block our tour of Laurium follows that gem up with a pair of not so glorious buildings – though I’m sure at one time they were. Like their more illustrious neighbor to the south, both of these commercial blocks feature sandstone, …

Prosperity Lost (p3) – the Marta Block

featured

As we continue our tour along Laurium’s main commercial district, we come across one more name to add to our list of whose who for the old village of Calumet’s – Dominick Marta. Mr. Marta was an Italian baker who set up shop in the young village of Calumet soon …

Prosperity Lost (p2)

featured

As was the case with most of the Copper Country’s growing communities, the commercial district of early Calumet was molded by only a handful of influential people. In addition to Mr. Vivian, who we discussed earlier in this series, Larium’s early years was also greatly influenced by an entrepreneurial Italian …

Prosperity Lost (p1)

featured

When Captain Vivian built his store along the newly formed Village of Calumet’s eastern end, the village was still only a child. But with Vivian’s success came a wave of imitators who arrived to Hecla Street to build their own American Dream in a brave new world outside C&H’s influence. …

Where It All Began

featured

The Laurium Mining Company was just another in a long line of speculative ventures launched at the dawn of the Keweenaw’s mineral rush, purchasing two sections of land in an area just to the east of the village of Red Jacket. The company used one section for its mine, while …

A Closer Look at Pewabic and Third

featured

One of the more unique houses on our list of Laurium’s rich and famous is this interesting building residing at the corner of Pewabic and Third. The home is the Vivian House, and was built by the son of Captain Johnson Vivian. While not the largest or most opulent of …

Homes of the Rich and Famous

featured

As with most American communities, the Red Jacket region was starkly divided by class and social standing. While the village itself was predominantly home to immigrants and laborers, the same couldn’t be said for the neighboring community of Laurium. The Beverly Hills of the Copper Country, this sprawling residential area …

The Laurium Commercial School

topfloor

While Houghton had the Mining College, and Hancock Suomi College, Laurium had its own institution of higher learning in the form of the Laurium Commercial School. Established in 1899 by a Mr. J. F. Reinier, the school offered coursework in stenography, penmanship, typewriting, bookkeeping, and “all other commercial subjects”. Within …

Columns and Capitals

featured

As the peninsulas more affluent neighborhood it was no surprise that Laurium’s business district was anchored by two grandiose bank buildings, each apparently built to overshadow their neighbor across the street. On the one corner we have the terra-cotta glazed First National Bank Building built in 1907, and on the …

The Sandstone Station

featured

Early automobiles actually had a rather healthy fuel economy, with the early Model T’s getting about 15-20 MPG and the Model A’s about 25. With standard tank sizes of ten gallons, most early cars had a rather remarkable range, an important feature when gas stations were far and in between. …

Out of Place

featured

Sitting at the corner of Pewabic and First Streets in Laurium stands this impressive sandstone building. It’s obviously a commercial block and looks to be built in the standard style with storefronts on the first floor and apartments on the second. Most likely those storefronts were once home to a …

Laurium Coal

featured

Between the twin cities of Calumet and Laurium, its Calumet that’s generally considered to be the more industrious of the two. That makes sense, considering the presence of several railroads scattered along the villages outskirts (including the Mineral Range, H&C and Copper Range railyards). But by the turn of the …

Pewabic and 3rd

featured

Today we start another feature here at Explorer: Then and Now. While our exploration journals take a look at the past through the ruins that remain, and Copper Country Window takes a look at the area today, Then and Now will attempt to connect the two – past and present. …

Prosperity to Ruin

featured

a town now in ruin The prosperity of the Copper Country slowly died along with the industry that provided it, until the bottom fell out with the closing of C&H in the late ’60s. While some towns – such as Houghton and Hancock – were able to meek out a …

First National Bank

featured

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. …