Calumet

It was a land surveyor blazing a path through the swampy highlands in the Keweenaw’s interior who first discovered the great Calumet Conglomerate lode. It was a discovery he kept to himself for several years as he secured the investors necessary to buy the mining rights to the land and form the Calumet Mining Company. Soon after a second company – the Hecla Mining Company- would began work along the lode just south of the Calumet’s holdings. These two mines proved to be highly rich in copper and would later merge to become the most successful mining company in the Keweenaw – the Calumet and Hecla Mine.

Originally known as Red Jacket, the town of Calumet first formed to the north of the great mine in 1864 to serve the workers of the newly formed Calumet Mine. As the mine’s success grew, the town of Red Jacket expanded and profited in response. By 1900 the small town had grown to nearly 5,000 residents, which together with the surrounding mining communities created a sprawling metropolis of nearly 30,000 people. Along its brick-paved streets were all the trappings of a modern metropolis: multi-floor department stores featuring the latest in European fashion, an opulent 1200 seat opera house featuring nationally touring stage plays and acts, and a large elegantly manicured city park designed by one of the country’s most renowned landscape architects.

Calumet was far from a simple mining town. Of course mining was the reason for Calumet’s existence, and it was the mine that provided its residents with most of the modern conveniences they enjoyed. C&H invested large amounts of resources in the community for the construction of modern schools, hospitals, libraries, bath houses, churches, and hundreds of houses for its workers. The mine also provided the town with many of its basic services including water, steam heat, and trash collection. But these resources and services didn’t come without a price. In return for its corporate paternalism C&H exerted a great deal of social control over the town and its residents – squelching dissent and limiting the influence of labor organizations. The result was an environment that nurtured a content and productive work force.

Calumet

A Metropolitan View

Calumet (and the surrounding communities) once supported over 30,000 people. Now they support less than 3000. While technically a village,…
Calumet

From the Alleyways (p1)

A door that goes to no where on a second floor We continue our look at Calumet from a different…
Calumet

Calumet Skyline

Continuing our theme for the week, we take another look at the village of Calumet. This one, however, is different…
Calumet

From the Alleyways (p2)

One of the more interesting structures in Calumet, the old Red Jacket Fire Station, glows a fiery red in the…
Calumet

A Trip to the Theatre

During Calumet’s more metropolitan days, this was the first thing most people saw when coming into town. Before the automobile…
Calumet

Rebirth of the Union

At the very head of 5th street and the start of Calumet’s business district sits the Union building. Built in…
Calumet

Facades (p1)

The J.W. Isakson Building, built in 1894; now home to the Omphale Art Gallery at the far end of 5th…
Calumet

Facades (p2)

Very few tourists venture up to the north end of 5th Street. If they did, they would find sitting atop…
Calumet

Facades (p3)

The M. Vertin Building, not to be confused with the Vertin Bros. building The sign that still hangs out front…
Calumet

Facades (p4)

We now enter the 300 block of 5th Street during our facade tour. First stop here is this three-story beauty.…
Calumet

Facades (p5)

Todays building is the largest along the 300 block of 5th street – a large three story brick and sandstone…
Calumet

Facades (p6)

This rather colorful embellisment sits above what use to be this buildings corner intrance – sitting at the intersection of…
Calumet

Facades (p7)

While not on 5th street, this building along Oak just down from Bedazed caught my attention right off the bat.…
Calumet

Facades (p8)

Moving on to the 200 block of 5th Street we start to get into the more interesting stuff. The first…
Calumet

Facades (p9)

Today we take a closer look at the facades of two buildings along 5th Street, starting first with the Rowe…
Calumet

Facades (p10)

the 1st National Bank Building (no longer standing) and the former JC Penny building on the left, historically known as…
Calumet

Facades (p11)

Our Calumet facades tour winds down here along the 100 block of 5th street with the largest building on the…
Calumet

The Calumet Depot

The first Calumet depot wasn’t in Calumet at all, but instead sat a good distance down the road in neighboring Hecla…
Calumet

Ghosts of Calumet

Before moving on with my Anatomy of a Mill series (is that groans I hear?), I decided to give you…
Calumet

The Churches of Calumet

St. Anthony’s Church, one of six Catholic Parishes in Calumet The Keweenaw Peninsula attracted immigrants from all across the globe…
Calumet

St. Joseph’s (St. Paul’s) Church

The Slovenians that immigrated to the Copper Country in the mid to late 19th century hailed from the South Slavic…
Calumet

St. Anne’s Church

The great metropolis of Red Jacket was growing dramatically at the dawn of the 20th century as it became home…
Calumet

St. Mary’s Church

While the soaring spires of St. Joseph’s and St. Anne’s dominated Calumet’s skyline, a third Catholic parish sat in relative…
Calumet

St. John’s Church

As representatives of a a minority ethnicity, the Croatians first joined with the Slovenians to establish the St. Joseph’s parish…
Calumet

Yet Another Sandstone Church

After studying the topic of Copper Country churches a few months back I came to a stark generalization based on…