Monday, August 22, 2016

Red Jacket

Red Jacket was a well-known chief of the Seneca Indian tribe, and the mining village formed in the 1860s just west of the Calumet and Hecla mine in Michigan’s UP was initially named after him. In 1929, the name of the town was changed to Calumet. I looked up why on the internet, but it’s rather a convoluted story if you ask me, but you can look it up here if you would like.

Every time we visit Michigan’s UP, we stop in Calumet, usually to buy gas at the BP or to pick up something we forgot at Pat’s Food (except this time. Yeah me!). One other time, we walked the streets, stopped in some stores and I even toured the Calumet Theatre.

Since the forecast was for rain on our first full day of camping near there this year, we decided we would spend the morning in Calumet and do some of the museums. 
First we toured the Coppertown Mining Museum.
Just one of the miners many duties, only put him hundreds of feet underground with barely room to stand up or turn around. Not for claustrophobic me. 
This is the Anne Clemenc display. She was a woman before her time, advocating for miners’ rights, leading marches in support of the workers. She even divorced her first husband, due to his physical abuse of her and his alcoholism.
The Union Building, which is now the Calumet Visitors Center, run by the National Park Service. 
The John Green Block, built in 1868, is one of the town’s oldest wood-frame buildings and has had various different businesses behind its doors. It has been home to Copper World gift store since 1977.
The Calumet and Holman Blocks. It is confusing that they call each building a block, but from what I gather, when they refer to these buildings as blocks it is because there are several different units, such as stores or living quarters, inside each one. So they are like their own little “block”.  
The Baer Brothers Building (say that three times fast). It was a meat market back in the day.
Vertin’s Department Store was the largest commercial building in downtown Red Jacket. You can see that, as the business grew, they added additional floors to the building. 
Calumet State Bank and the Coppo Block.  A few windows in on the left side you can see where the architecture changed signifying where the bank ends and the Coppo building begins. 
The Michigan Hotel which served the area’s elite and was owned by Bosch Brewing Company.

I don’t know what this building is – or was – but it is pretty much gone beyond repair. It has no roof or back wall. There are many more buildings in Calumet that are in the same, or worse condition. As my sister Pat would say, in German, “Wie Traurig”. 
I took a picture of this building on Tuesday afternoon because I thought it looked cool and liked the turret on the corner. Little did I know that on Thursday Hubby would be entering the store under the blue awning. That would be Auto Value of Calumet. Can I tell them why, Honey? (He had forgotten to put the gas cap on the Blazer when we got gas at the BP and he needed to buy a new one. Moral of this story, don’t take a picture of an auto parts store while on vacation as you may have to stop there before you are done.)

Most of the information above (except about the auto parts store) was taken from the booklet “Downtown Calumet: Guide to the Historic Mining Community”, produced by the National Parks Service. Also click on the many links included here for more information.   


Denise said...

Very cool history. I don't think the youth of today will care much for our country, cities, towns, villages history, just sayin!!!

Chris Loehmer Kincaid said...

I know, Denise. It makes me so sad that all these old cool buildings will soon be gone and the next generation won't even know what they missed. Did you click on the link for the Michigan Hotel? They do have two rooms to rent for the night. I need to talk Himey into staying there.