Recognition of Laurium Historic District
Contact: John Rosemurgy, 906-337-1104, ext. 121
In an effort to fulfill its mission to preserve and protect the cultural resources relating to the copper mining industry of the Keweenaw Peninsula, Keweenaw National Historical Park has worked in partnership with Coppertown Museum and the Americana Foundation to complete a national register nomination for the Village of Lauruim. A special event will be held on May 4, 2005 to officially introduce the recently established Laurium National Register District and highlight the preservation tax incentive program, now available to many Laurium property owners.
The Village of Laurium was founded in 1887 as part of the development of the Calumet area in conjunction with the mining of the Calumet conglomerate lode, considered the most important development in U.S. copper mining in the mid-nineteenth century. Laurium grew to satisfy the demand for housing that neither the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company not the nearby Village of Red Jacket (now Calumet) could adequately supply. Laruium was known as the home to home of mine workers and mine owners, but it was also home to doctors, shopkeepers, barbers, bakers, and laundresses, and all the others needed to sustain a community.
Laurium residents have a reason to celebrate. On January 31, 2005, the National Park Service Office of the National Register in Washington D.C. officially listed the Laurium Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. On Wednesday, May 4, 2005, the Village of Laurium will pause to recognize its historic designation and learn about the potential benefits. An evening presentation will be held at the Laurium Village Hall at 7:00 pm. There will be brief introductions of the project team responsible for establishing the nomination and a presentation on Michigan’s Preservation Tax Incentive program by Bryan Lijewski from the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). The tax credit program, intended to offset the expense of maintaining historic buildings, is now available to many Laurium property owners as a result of Laurum’s recent listing on the National Register.
Before the Laurium historic district could be nominated for listing on the National Register, a comprehensive architectural survey was required. The Laurium survey took place between September 2003 and April 2004. The survey area included all of the village of Laurium west of and including North Florida Street and the west side of Isle Royale Street excluding only the Village’s 1970 addition and the 1974 former airport addition. The survey accounted for all above ground resources (buildings, structures, objects and sites) that were substantial in size and/or historically significant. A field worksheet was completed for each property, recording basic descriptive information with documentary photographs. In addition, a research worksheet for each property was also developed, recording information about the buildings from Sanborn maps, tax cards, and additional historical sources. The nomination process also involved the creation of an electronic database and district maps showing contributing and non-contributing resources. The completed nomination includes a 67 page property list, a 25 page statement of significance and an 18 page description of the district with documentary and historical photographs. The Laurium project was made possible through a grant from the Americana Foundation with additional funding and staff support by Keweenaw National Historical Park.
Although the up-coming May 4 event highlights Laurium’s recent listing on the National Register, the tax credit presentation will be of broader interest to many area residents. Property owners planning repairs or improvements to historic buildings located within Keweenaw National Historical Park’s Quincy or Calumet Units, or one of the area’s National Historic Register Districts are also potentially eligible for tax credits equal to 25% of approved expenditures. To locate area National Register districts or learn about the preservation tax credit program, visit the Michigan History, Arts and Literature web site, www.michigan.gov/hal, Services and Collections.
Did You Know?
The Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan was home to one of our nation's first mineral rushes. Prospectors seeking copper travelled there in the middle 1840's, a few years before the "49'ers" sought gold out west. The story of this rush is told today at Keweenaw National Historical Park.