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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 buildings...click 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.










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