Kaleva Temple, photo taken 1980
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Kaleva Temple
Trimountain Avenue, South Range - Houghton County
Property Type stone building
Style Other
Narrative Description The Kaleva Temple is a sandstone commercial block facing Highway M-26, also known as Trimountain Avenue, in the Western Upper Peninsula village of South Range. Although basically rectangular with a symmetrically arranged facade, the building's plan is pentagonal and the east side elevation displays an entrance set at an angle on the front corner of the building. The Temple is a two-story building of rough cut, coursed sandstone masonry embellished with smooth stone facade trim and cornice trim along the flat roof line. A slightly projecting midsection extends vertically through the facade elevation, framing on the first floor a staircase entrance to the second story and on the second, a stone panel inscribed "Kaleva Temple". A knobbed cornice cap with pedimented peak, and inscribed with the construction completion date of 1910, tops the center projection.
Statement of Significance The Kaleva Temple is architecturally significant as an unaltered example of vernacular commercial building style executed in regional materials. It is surrounded by substantial remnants of its early twentieth century built environment, a context which emphasizes its value as a local document of regional socioeconomic trends of the day. Jacob Baer, an ambitious local businessman, initiated construction of the commercial block in 1907 or 1908. Unable to complete the project, he sold the property to the Kalevan Retaret, a Finnish society, which finished it in 1910. The Kaleva Temple first housed the Finnish ethnic social hall on the second story while the lower floor provided space for three commercial offices. Later, the Sons of Italy, a dentist's office, a theater, a restaurant, a hardware store, the justice of the peace, and, from 1915 to 1977, the U.S. Post Office, were all tenants of the building. Today the Kaleva Temple stands as an authentic artifact representing the commercial and social dynamics that characterized the South Range during its early twentieth century heyday.
Period of Significance 1915-1977
Significant Date(s) 1900, 1910, 1915, 1977
Registry Type(s) 03/19/1982 National Register listed
Site ID# P23297