Calumet: From Boom to Bust to Relic on One Sunny Day


Calumet is an odd hybrid of a town: both historic and functional, dying and vibrant, a conundrum with excellent restaurants.

A local name, even if it’s now owned by a conglomerate.

Calumet, Michigan once had thousands upon thousands of residents. The mine bosses up here made a lot of the decisions that were rubber-stamped in the capital, Lansing. The legacy of this faded power can be seen in the architecture and grandeur of the town as it sits, partially decaying, today.

Handy for paying your $2 parking ticket.

The mines up this way basically all closed by the early 1970s, and since then, the University down here in Houghton-Hancock has been the major employer/economic engine. Heck, it’s where I work. But until that time, there was a lot of clout in Calumet. The Calumet Theatre hosted nationally famous acts for nearly a century, and is still open to this day, even if it needs some repair.

Showing its age, but the Calumet Theatre is still a lovely building.

One of my favourite things to do up here is spot the old ads painted on the sides of buildings. This is one of my favourites.

Now on the side of one of the local bars.
The tops of many of the buildings are fascinating…

But many of the street-level views aren’t as optimistic.

Credits: kevinhodur

For us, it’s just a fifteen-minute drive, a place to have dinner or meet with friends. But the architecture, the abundant nature, and yes, the occasional tourist trap makes a voyage to Calumet an interesting one. It won’t battle resort towns for attention, but when the summer gets too hot for you and you want to go where the air is clear and the skies are bright and the trees are green, Calumet and the surrounding area will be waiting.

written by kevinhodur on 2013-04-20 in #world #locations #michigan #snow #local-flavor #calumet #sunny #spring #select-type-of-location #lomography #locations


  1. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    Yes, a very interesting town with an amazing history. At one time (1860's to 1920's) Calumet had more wealth, culture and employment than even Detroit. You forgot to mention that it is now a National Park, although that hasn't helped them much. Tourism is about their only industry.

  2. bsdunek
    bsdunek ·

    I forgot to mention that the Calumet Theater was restored in the 1970's. You should have seen it before that.

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