Calumet Historic District, photo submitted 1989 Calumet Historic District, photo submitted 1989
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Calumet Historic District
District includes key streets in downtown Calumet, and industrial and administrative buildings at the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company site along Red Jacket Road, Calumet - Houghton County
Property Type company town
copper mine
Style Other
Architect/Builder Calumet and Hecla Mining Company
Significant Person Erasmus Darwin Leavitt
Narrative Description The Calumet Historic District is composed of the Calumet and Hecla Mine and the historic Village of Red Jacket. The Calumet and Hecla Mine: The primary remaining structures of the Hecla Mine are: No. #1 warehouse, a man-engine house, paint shop, round house, machine shop, firehouse, blacksmith shop, pattern house, and the C & H library (now Lake Superior Land Company office). The locations of the shafts are apparent. Although some of the railroad tracks have been removed, their transportation routes through the location remain a visible pattern. Throughout the location as a whole, the industrial buildings are vernacular, built out of local Portage Entry sandstone or red brick with dark grey mine rock foundations. Segmental arches over windows and doors and contrasting stone quoins add a refined touch to these solid, handsome structures. Two buildings dominate the entrance to the mine location, the C & H General Offices and the company library, which was designed by architects Shaw and Hunnewell of Boston. both structures exhibit the handsome stonework of local masons, which, in the case of the library, is enhanced by sophisticated design and detail. Historic Red Jacket (Village of Calumet) The village of Red Jacket, settled in the late 1860s and incorporated in 1875, grew up on the northwest edge of the Calumet and Hecla mine location. The village (now known as Calumet) is laid out so that its axis forms a snubbed "V" with the axis of the north, or Calumet, section of the mine location. The bottom of the "v" is Red Jacket Road. The open wedge between the village and the mines was originally a commons, after the Boston model. Fifth and Sixth Streets, between Scott and Pine, comprise the main commercial area. The structures here reflect Red Jacket's commercial development during the boom years, as frame houses and stores were followed by sandstone and brick business blocks. These rectangular-shaped structures with plain side walls define the streetscape, presenting, from time to time, imposing three-story facades of wood, sandstone, brick and metal. Most are embellished with stock elements, sometimes in lavish combination: terra-cotta trimming, metal cornices, turrets, bays, cast iron thresholds and columns. Surrounding the commercial district on the west and north sides are neighborhoods of worker housing of several periods. Most common are the single and double family houses built between 1870 and 1910. Most of these simple dwellings rest on foundations of mine waste rock; several still retain their original wood shingle or narrow clapboard siding. The most typical design is a two-bay wide, two and one-half story house with gable oriented to the street.
Statement of Significance The Calumet and Hecla site and the related commercial district of Red Jacket, and the nearby Quincy Mining Company site (Quincy Mining Company Historic District) represent the major elements of the Michigan copper industry: mining and mining technology, immigration and ethnic settlement, paternalism and company towns, and labor organization. The two companies represent the greatest longevity, production, technical innovation, and influence in the Michigan industry throughout its history, and for the period 1867-1882 in the copper industry nation-wide. The discovery and extraction of the rich Calumet conglomerate lode was the most important development in both Michigan and United States copper mining between 1867 and 1884. During these years the U.S. percentage of world copper production increased from 6 percent to 17 percent. The Calumet and Hecla Mining Company (C & H) alone contributed over one-half of the nation's total. As late as 1882, after the rise of the western copper fields, C & H still accounted for 63 percent of the total U.S. production of copper. Although the Boston-based company lost its dominant position in the late 1880s, by the early twentieth century consolidation and diversification enabled C & H to once again rival the largest western companies. The Great Depression and a decline in the price of copper caused the company to shut down its operations in the 1930s.
Period of Significance 1864-1930
Registry Type(s) 02/10/1989 National Historic Landmark listed
03/28/1989 National Register listed
Site ID# P274