Calumet Mill Boiler House

Calumet | , ,

Significance

Before there was the great C&H Mine, there was a small struggling start up known as the Calumet Mine. The fledging company was the first to mine the Calumet Conglomerate lode, and sunk a series of shafts north of today’s Red Jacket Road. For a time copper rock from those shafts were sent south to Hancock for milling, a rather expensive and time consuming endeavor. To cut costs the mine erected its own stamp mill on the shore of a man-made lake known as Calumet Dam. In addition to the mill itself, the sprawling complex included a large pump house – used to supply the mill with water from the reservoir – and an attached boiler house to supply the steam needed for both the pump and the adjacent mill.

Unfortunately the mill was discovered to be horrifically inadequate in processing the Calumet’s mine rock, and a new more powerful mill had to be constructed. This new mill would require a much greater supply of water, a supply the small creek that fed the Calumet Dam could never supply. So a new mill site down the hill on Torch Lake was chosen, and the old mill at Calumet was demolished. All, that is, except for the boiler and pump houses. Those would be repurposed to serve a new purpose – providing water for fire protection to the newly merged Calumet and Hecla Mines as well as the burgeoning Red Jacket metropolis. These water works at Calumet Pond (as it would later be known) would continue to serve the community for nearly a century, only becoming abandoned along with C&H’s closure in the 1960’s.

Description

While the old pump house itself no longer stands, the attached boiler house that once fed it with steam does remain, standing tall along the shore of Calumet Lake. The large brick building had survived thanks to its role as home to an auto-parts business for many years, signs for which can still be seen plastered along its outer walls. Though the large smokestack that once accompanied the building is gone, the bricked-in opening through which the flue exited the building can still be seen on the building’s front facade. Also present is the old coal trestle and approach, which enters the building’s east wall through a large doorway. This trestle would have been used to deliver the necessary coal needed to fuel the boilers.

Contemporary Use

After its closure as a water pumping station in the late 1960’s, the old boiler house was gutted and its boilers scrapped. The building would later serve as a storage warehouse for an auto parts store (whose signage still appears on the building’s exterior). Today, however, the building stands vacant.

Public Access

The old Calumet Mill Boiler house is privately owned and off limits to the public. It can, however, be easily viewed from the adjacent road, or from the neighboring park which now occupies the old mill’s location.

Directions

Heading north along US41 in Calumet, turn left onto Pine Street. Take the second road on the right (Waterworks Road), and follow it to its end. The old boiler house will be straight ahead.