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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Calumet, Michigan - Part 1 -Downtown

The town of Calumet is a complex story. Before we begin, click on the picture of the Keweenaw Peninsula to see where Calumet in located. In the center of the peninsula is a ridge running all the way down (and farther) that consists of copper bearing minerals and ore.

Now, that you know where it is located, let's drive into town.

The town of Calumet is about twelve miles north of Houghton.  This is one of the most interesting towns we have come across--so interesting that we may have to post an entire historical background on it.   Basically, the town had its start with copper mines.  In the 1900's over ten thousand people lived and worked here.  The downtown area has some amazing buildings.

We love the idea of when you open the door to these stores that there is creaky screen door that just has a certain thud when closing.  It also should show you that air conditioning is not really needed up here in the UP.
Half of the buildings, have been beautifully restored for new purposes.  Here, for you young people, is a perfect example of what a gas station use to look like.  Today it is a coffee house.

The old police station...and yes, it is used for community police based activities still.

Amazing fire station and look what pulled up as we were taking pictures...perfect.

Looks like it use to

This is the old theater which is still used today.

The typical neighborhood around Calumet....there is a reason they all look pretty much the same but that has to come later.

If you like details on old to enlarge.  Most of these buildings were designed and built by Italian immigrants and were built in the late 1800's through the early 1900's. 

Even though this particular building is in ruin, notice the window depth...18 inches.

Local sandstone was used for the majority of these buildings

The town has many complex facets and will take several more posts to give a true flavor. This post is just looking at the buildings in the downtown.

As Boom (and busts) towns go, this had a large increase in population and the mine owner wanted the town to possess a quality of life for the residents.

The old school has one chimney. I assume their was a (wood fired?) boiler that fed steam to the room radiators.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fort Wilkens, Cooper Harbor, Mi

Fort Wilkins Historic State Park features a beautifully restored 1844 military outpost and one of the first lighthouses on Lake Superior. The troops stationed there were intended to help with local law enforcement and to keep the peace between miners and the local Ojibwa indians.  The fort was only in commission for two years; after that it was used for a tourist retreat for several years until it was given to the state for a park. It reopened briefly as a fort in the late 1860's. 

The enlisted married men's quarter were outside the fort walls. What kind of message does that send?
The commons square

The rear of the Officer's quarters
Inside the bake shop
Making bread

Note the huge bellows in the blacksmith shop

Blacksmith items

The front of the mess hall

Where's the grub? Mess hall



Orderly's room

Store at fort

I need a smoke. Any one have a match?

Quartermaster stores

The fort sits on a nice lake

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse

There are a lot of rocks cropping off shore near Eagle Harbor forming what is known as Sawtooth Reef.   Several ships, older and modern, have shipwrecked on the reefs offshore. The harbor is not for large ships but I would be careful even bringing a small boat in through the rocks. The lighthouse aids mariners by marking the point. Lighthouses are not as necessary as they used to be in the age of GPS but still serve a purpose. The lighthouse on this point is still in use and operated by the coast guard. The freight traffic going west on Lake Superior is 12 miles north and the east traffic is 26 miles north.

Loved some of the furnishings in the lighthouse. We did not go to the top of the tower as it is still  is a working lighthouse and the Coast Guard says No.

Cool radio

With so much snow, electricity often went out. This electric stove has a wood burning part built onto the right. Another way to foil lazy women from finding an excuse not to cook!

Was this necessary in the winter?

1927 Chrysler. Long Story about a ship carrying a load of cars that was grounded off the reef and the rescue of the crew and cargo. The cargo was difficult to move and had to remain on the ship throughout the winter.  For six months they sat on the grounded ship covered in ice and snow.  When spring approached, they finally got the cars off;  the engines still fired up and ran perfectly.