Park Busy with 2009 Summer Projects
Contact: Tom Baker, Management Assisitant, (906) 337-1104 ext. 131
(Calumet, MI) The National Park Service at Keweenaw National Historical Park is busy with numerous preservation projects this summer, with a workforce commensurate to the load. This summer's Youth Conservation Corps has been busy with clean-up projects throughout the Calumet and Quincy units, including projects in the community and with park partner sites. These six energetic youth from Chassell, CLK, Hancock, and Houghton have been clearing brush, painting, and generally sprucing up park and community facilities, such as Italian Hall Park.
Larger preservation projects are being handled by summer maintenance crews, which include thirteen seasonal employees and two permanent staff, bringing the total Preservation Services/Maintenance staff to 24. All but one are from local Copper Country communities.
The first big project of the summer is the stabilization and replacement of the roof on the historic Calumet & Hecla No. 2 Dry House, located on the grounds of CLK Schools, which houses the NPS' drill core collection that documents many of the mines operated by C&H. The crew should finish that project by the end of July. At the same time, part of the crew is also working on the repair and restoration of the dozens of storm windows on the C&H No. 1 Warehouse on Red Jacket Road.
The second large project is the repair of the massive structural members in the Pay Shed of the C&H General Office Building, now park headquarters, to correct damage caused by carpenter ants, which was discovered last fall. The Pay Shed was the only part of the building not included in its recent rehabilitation.
Also on tap for the summer is the stabilization of the Quincy Mining Company stone ruins of the former No. 4 Hoist House and the No. 5 Boiler House. Both projects are being funded through the NPS' Historic Structures Stabilization program. The ruins are located on the Quincy Mine Hoist Association property.
Beyond these in-house projects, contracts will be let for the rehabilitation of windows in the Union Building and the former C&H Public Library, now the Keweenaw History Center. Contracts for NPS projects at Keweenaw NHP have typically gone to local contractors employing local workers. Another contract will be awarded to provide fire detection systems at the Keweenaw History Center, providing a greater level of security for the archives housed in that facility.
The NPS is also awarding Keweenaw Heritage Grants in excess of $40,000 that will provide funding for private preservation, interpretation, safety, and accessibility projects in the Calumet and Quincy units of the park.
The total expenditure for projects at Keweenaw NHP this summer will result in a $1.2 million investment by the NPS in the local economy including materials and labor.
In addition to the bricks-and-mortar projects, NPS staff is also busy with several other projects. Park professional staff is providing technical assistance to Franklin Township relating to stabilization and potential development of the Quincy Smelting Works site. With EPA and the Township, park staff will be involved in a public meeting on the future of the smelter on July 29 (details will be coming out soon).
The park's Interpretation & Education operation once again has Teacher-Ranger-Teachers on staff for the summer. The two teachers from local schools will spend their summer working with the NPS to develop curriculum-based interpretive materials, and will bring their ranger skills back to the classroom during the school year. The rangers are also providing programs to more visitors this year thanks to the weekly visits of the Clelia II cruise ship to the park, including several of the Keweenaw Heritage Sites.
The park's archival collection is receiving attention this summer through an internship program, which utilizes the skills of a University of Michigan graduate student to care for and continue to catalog the park's extensive archives. The park has been very successful the past few years with its archives internship program. And most of the park staff are engaged in planning for the Union Building’s rehabilitation and its "Life in A Copper Mining Community" exhibit, and consulting with the community in the development of those exhibits.
"It's the busiest summer yet at Keweenaw National Historical Park," says Park Superintendent Jim Corless. "It is great to have so many of our neighbors working for the park, preserving and interpreting the great story of Keweenaw Copper."
For additional information, please call park headquarters at 906-337-3168 or email us.
Did You Know?
Despite ups and downs in copper production and prices, the Quincy Mining Company on Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula was able to pay its investors dividends nearly every year from 1862 to 1920, earning it the nickname "Old Reliable." The company closed in 1945, but continued to operate the smelter until 1971.