Calumet is an odd hybrid of a town: both historic and functional, dying and vibrant, a conundrum with excellent restaurants.
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.
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.
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.
But many of the street-level views aren’t as optimistic.
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.