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Calumet Visitor Center General Information
The Calumet Visitor Center is located at the entrance to historic downtown Calumet in the Union Building, a former lodge hall for various fraternal organizations. The address is 98 Fifth Street, Calumet, MI 49913. Visitors are able to experience three floors of interactive exhibits on what life was like for people in this mining community from its establishment, through boom times, to the closure of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company in 1968. The visitor center provides a staffed information desk and sales outlet for the Isle Royale & Keweenaw Parks Association. The information desk at the visitor center can be reached at (906) 483-3176 during hours of operation.
Union Building (Calumet Visitor Center) History
The Calumet Visitor Center is located in a former lodge hall known as the Union Building. Planning for the structure began in 1888, when a group of local men formed "the Union Building Association" to raise money for its construction. The men were members of two fraternal groups - the Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows - who saw value in sharing a lodge hall and combining forces to construct it. Their partnership inspired the name of the association and the building itself. The Union Building has been a prominent and notable structure since it opened in 1889, not only because of its size and corner location, but also because of the events that took place inside. The three-story building was designed to accommodate a lot of activity. The ground floor was rented to commercial tenants, and the rent they paid helped cover the costs of the building's upkeep. The Masons and the Odd Fellows used the upper floors, where they held meetings and practiced rituals.
Preservation of the Union Building
The National Park Service was able to purchase the building in 1999. The first phase of its rehabilitation addressed the exterior: in 2005, local contracting crews repaired the bricks and mortar; restored the storefront window openings; installed a new cornice; and replaced the roof. This prevented further damage from occurring to the interior. Designing the next phase - the interior rehabilitiation - began in 2007. At the same time, the park received funding to plan its first permanent exhibit and visitor information facility to be located at the Union Building. The Calumet Visitor Center represents Keweenaw National Historical Park's mission: it provides an opportunity to learn about the community's history in a building where it unfolded, and illustrates the goals of historic preservation.
Last updated: December 11, 2018