May 01-08

Past-E-Mail: Cam Notes - 2008: May: May 01-08
Brick view    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli
5th Street    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli
Old concrete    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli
Built in 1906    ...scroll down to share comments
Photo by Aladino Mandoli

Mary Drew at Pasty Central (Mdrew) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 05:51 am:

If you've been down 5th street in Calumet and haven't noticed the brick restoration that was done a few years back, then you're missing a trip into the town's history. Aladino Mandoli didn't miss a thing as he got right down on the roadway for a unique shot looking north on this re-bricked street. He focused closely on the bricks, so you barely see the buildings, then kind of like an afterthought you check them out too. Not to slight those historic storefronts, Dino also snapped a shot standing up, which gives you a view all the way down to Pine street in the distance.

Since I'm on the subject of streets in Calumet, I thought I'd share the bottom two photos, taken in another season, but recently sent to me by Paul Roberts. I'm not certain the name of this street presently, but according to the sign in the bottom photo, it's the Oldest Concrete Pavement in Michigan, having been built in 1906. Looks like Calumet is rich in roadway history and quite proud of it, too!

By Jeff Kalember (Jeffkal) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 06:30 am:

Calumet ... highest percentage finnish population in Michigan? If not, its close !! Still got snowbanks?

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 07:00 am:

When these folks get out and about in Calumet to start the day they can really say, time to hit the bricks.

By Capt. Paul (Eclogite) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 07:44 am:

Mary, that sign sits at the corner of 7th and Portland and the National Register of Historic Places, in its Copper Country Trail corridor brochere, had this to say about it:

First Use of Concrete Paving Information Designation
Located at Seventh and Portland Streets in Calumet were eleven blocks of municipal streets paved in 1906, and are among the oldest extant concrete pavement in Michigan. Designation: State Register, listed April 30, 1957

By Eugene Zuverink (Zube) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 07:44 am:

Thats pretty good thinking this time of the morning David

By Mike B. Wishin I was back in the Yoop (Mikeb) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 08:12 am:

I love Calumet. I didn't grow up there (I was born and raised further south in Iron County) but something about that town just makes me feel right at home any time I'm there. Looking at these pics, as simple as they may seem, brings back that feeling for me. Thanks for startin my day off right :-)

By Lorelei (Lorelei) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 08:38 am:

I see my favorite candy store. Now I have a craving for the awesome fudge that the Calumet Merchantile serves. Super Yummy.

By Heikki (Heikki) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 08:47 am:

Is it a question of semantics?

Michigan had the world's first concrete road built in 1901 at Detroit.

Pavement can mean either the paved surface of a thoroughfare or a sidewalk(Brit.)

Is the Calumet 'pavement' a road or sidewalk?

Since many Cornish miners inhabited the U.P., perhaps 'pavement' in lieu of 'sidewalk' was in popular use those days.

By John Sullivan (Jsullivan) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 09:47 am:

Calumet's concrete streets were the oldest still in use in Michigan in 1956 and in 2008 several "city blocks" of the 1906 concrete streets still are in use.

By RD, Iowa (Rdiowa) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 10:22 am:

I wonder if some of those streets appear in the 1913 shots in today's Pasty Central Day in History?

By David Hiltunen (Davidcorrytontn) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:01 am:

I never could understand why we park our vehicles in a driveway, then get in them and drive along the parkway. For afew years around 1976 I worked on 7 th. street in Calumet for Calumet Electronics. It was much like today where job's were hard to find. I had a great job at Burroughs, but in those years layoff's from many companies happened. Belgium, Scotland, and Wales began making the wire harnessing and key' and type setting went to the ball at 90 characters per second, and then laser 120 a second. I left downstate and came back home to the Yoop, where then CEO George Craze Calumet Electronics gave me a job at minimum wage, then was $2.35 an hour. I moved up the ladder quickly, but went back downstate after a few years. Sometimes I wished I stayed, that Company is still doing well today in the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) industry, after many closed up shop when Mexico and Guadalajara got those jobs. There they can pollute water, without buying a expensive water naturalizing system. Calumet Electronics has moved, but still in Calumet and has put Calumet on the map in this industry. The have a great web site, do a search on it. I met many fine folks in Calumet, but the drive up & down either one of them hills to get there & back from Dollar Bay 11 miles was a real trip in the Winter. I always enjoyed going to shop there with the parents as a kid. There was this mystical feeling about it. Had some good looking blonde Finish girls too. Sometimes I wished I stayed and married one, I'd be eating more Pasty then pinto beans, neck bones & cornbread today

By Musicteacher (Musicteacher) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:55 am:


Report from Calumet:

The banks are gone, but there is still plenty of snow if
you want me to send you some! hahaha

I raked my front yard last night around the piles of snow.
I still cannot find the garden. Sump pump runs about
every 10 minutes, so water table is high again this year.
Saw a robin last week and the black-eyed juncos have
arrived. The cardinals have disappeared. The grass
near the house foundation is starting to turn green, the
rest of the lawn is brown and panked.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 12:43 pm:

I know this will sound sacrilegious to some of you natives of the area, but Calumet always seemed like such a depressing town. I like many of it's neighborhoods that I've seen. But the general impression of the town is so grim. I'm really sorry that I feel like this but that's my impression. The few people I'v met were nice but.....Am I the only one who feels that way? I like the history of Calumet and the beautiful old buildings!

By Heikki (Heikki) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 01:08 pm:

Calumet's concrete streets were the oldest still in use in Michigan in 1956 and in 2008 several "city blocks" of the 1906 concrete streets still are in use.

Ah, that may be what differentiates Detroit's and Calumet's claim to history...."Oldest still in use". Thanks, John. I've been losing sleep over this thinking Motown was trying to steal Calumet's thunder. ;-)

By maija in Commerce Township (Maija) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 01:47 pm:

The main mining buildings, museum attractions, schools, churches, and main streets of Calumet are not depressing and actually are 'coming back'. It really is a great place to visit. It does need an equivalent to the Parkside bakery and restaurant.

But there is still work to do. Don't know why, but if you go to Laurium, none of it is depressing.

By Charlie at Pasty Central (Chopper) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 01:59 pm:


First impressions can often be false impressions, and leave you with a slanted view of a particular town. For example, our family had a few bad experiences the first time we stayed in Danville, Illinois, and we realized afterward that to us, Danville seemed depressing. That's a pretty limited way to look at the world.

Calumet, on the other hand, holds for us such beautiful memories and exciting discoveries that it seems anything but depressing. You may have picked up on our "Day in History" series that we often relate world and national events to Calumet and the Copper Country. Though it does not have the population it had in the glory days of the mines, it is still a wonderful, historic region to visit and live.

By Dale Beitz (Dbeitz) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 03:53 pm:

Depressing or not, for some interesting photos of Calumet visit this site
Copper Country Explorer - Calument
The site owner lives somewhere in the Keweenaw and spends a great deal of time wandering about with a camera. He posts the results on his web site, including his own commentary. Most of the Calumet pictures focus on architectural elements of the historic buildings there.

By Mr. Bill (Mrbill) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 06:45 pm:

Be they the vestiges of coal mining in Hazzard, Kentucky, lead and zinc mining in Schullsburg, Wisconsin or Joplin, Missouri, gold and silver mining in Leadville, Colorado, the copper wastes of Mt. Lyre in Tasmania, or here in the copper country, former mining sites are never pleasant on the eyes. Neither are the industrial rust belts of Pittsburgh, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, or Gary.

IF one can look beyond their present day squalor, the one-time vision of pride, work ethic, and the American dream to improve ones lot in life, can be sensed.

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 09:52 pm:

Charlie I'm sorry you have the impression that I don't like Calumet. Part of my feelings seem to respond to the last time I was there during Pasty Fest in '06. It had to be held indoors because of rain and that big building was rather unorganized. Couldn't get near the booth. It didn't help that my companion (a rather difficult relative was upsetting me with grumblings and complaints!) Enjoyed the museum nearby tho. I'm certainly hoping to get there under better circumstances next time. My new residence here is similar in size and has some rather depressing areas too. That's life I guess.

By David S. (Yooperdfs) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 10:21 pm:

Calumet, depressing? Not hardly. I grew up there in the 1950's when it was still fairly bustling. The mines closed in the late 60's and it never recovered economically. Most of my life after moving from Calumet, as a kid, has been spent in Illinois and Florida. However, I'm approaching retirement now and I bought a summer home in Calumet 3 years ago. I have traveled all over this country (job related) but still consider the U.P. as 'home'. While most of this country has turned into a tapestry of strip malls, traffic jams and neighbors that don't even know each other, the U.P. has retained it's past values and natural beauty. The people are for the most part friendly and real. There is no where I'd rather be during the summer. The big lake and small businesses, Brockway Mountain and open roads are still magical like nowhere else.

By Deborah Pavolich (Teacherdeb) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:16 pm:

Hi, Kay.

I can relate to your feelings. I've lived here in Calumet for my entire life. Though tourists and seasonal residents may enjoy the beauty of summer or small doses of winter, those of us who are still scooping snow in April and who haven't seen the sun in 5 months often feel suicidal (or at least like throwing a shovel at a passing tourist). When old, abandoned buildings create a dismal silhouette against a cold, gray sky, it's enough to drive even the most temperate of Yoopers to drink. And as far as old pavement-- boy, would I like to see some NEW pavement on our streets! Old pavement has its charm, but frequent visits to the body shop because of the harsh driving conditions lose their charm QUICKLY! Why do I stay? Well, by the time June gets here, I forget all about wanting to pack up and leave-- or wanting to ship this white stuff (s@#$) to all the tourists who find it beautiful!

By Bheki Naylor (Bheki) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:26 pm:

Hello Everyone! Kay has brought me out of lurker mode. I LOVE
CALUMET! My husband and I vacationed in the Keweenaw in 2005
and fell head over heels in love with the area and the people. We're
talking totally smitten. And what's not to love? The area is
gorgeous. Specifically, Calumet is FABULOUS! Great historic
buildings. Friendly people. The Vertin Gallery is fantastic and could
definitely hold it's own in any densely populated, artsy town. Ooo,
and the pasties. We are currently trying to sell our farm in Ohio so
we can move into our Secret Cabin in Calumet. In case I'm not being
absolutely clear, CALUMET ROCKS!

By kay Moore (Mskatie) on Thursday, May 1, 2008 - 11:46 pm:

Boy I knew I'd hit somebodys' nerves!!!! Don't take it personally guys. The area is where I left my heart! But don't be harsh on all the tourists either. It's just like the locals around here feel about the big city visitors(re: Chicago) or the folks in Door County Wisconsin complain about the same...Tourism is an industry and locals should be glad for the income.

By Mark Pasich (Lumberman) on Friday, May 2, 2008 - 09:31 pm:

I am thankful for everything Copper Country related. No nerves struck with me Kay. You are fine. My mother was from here are hated coming back. I couldn't wait to come up for the summer. I grew up near Detroit. Funny thing about the big bad city, is that I got into more trouble up here that there. I think that is funny

By Karen Rygg (Specialk) on Saturday, May 3, 2008 - 05:34 pm:

The old town still looks the same. Hasn't changed since I was a child in the 50's, living in Calumet.

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