Coppertown USA Mining Museum
Coppertown Mining Museum offers a variety of exhibits relative to the Copper Mining Industry and the Community Life associated with it. The most recent and popular exhibits are the Rastello Shoe Shop that was in Calumet and a portion of the Pattern Shop which was the original use of the entire museum building for almost 70 years of its’ history. Other exhibits include minerals, prehistoric mining, C & H Hospital operating room, early one room school, the Italian Hall Tragedy, and others. Two new exhibits under way are a steam laundry from Calumet that began operation in the early part of the last century and a machine shop with large machines used to make and repair the axles and wheels of the streetcars from the Houghton County Traction Company that operated in the area from 1900 - 1932.
There is a unique little gift shop in the museum featuring historical publications on various aspects of Copper Country history and a large selection of copper specimens and minerals.
The Keweenaw Peninsula is a unique blend of natural and human history… a rugged, picturesque land which is inhabited and loved by people of many nationalities. Their taproots are deeply imbedded in the conglomerate formations from which they and their ancestors wrested millions of pounds of copper, and they are duly proud of this great heritage.
Michigan’s Copper industry began thousands of years ago when ancient miners attacked exposed veins of pure copper with huge hammer-stones. The tools and techniques of mining advanced considerably in the centuries that followed.
Calumet, originally known as Red Jacket, was an interesting conglomeration of people, buildings, and businesses back in the booming copper mining days. From 1890 to 1910, 60,000 to 70,000 people of every nationality called Calumet home. Calumet Township housed 60 saloons, 33 churches, 30 schools and five theatres. There were Chinese Laundries, Greek Candy Stores, Syrian Fruit Stores, and many other businesses unique to the area. Along with this, there were favorite locations and hangouts for each separate nationality to get together.
Before WWI, Germany bought all the Copper from the "Copper Country." The Copper was put through an Electrolytic Plant which filtered out the silver, and the silver more than paid for shipping the Copper across the ocean. In 1913 there was a mass exodus caused by a miners’ strike. Because of this 10,00 people left the area.
In 1921, the government stopped buying copper. The Detroit area automobile plants were hiring so 6,000 more people headed south to find work. Calumet slowed down to a crawl very quickly.
The great Depression of May 2, 1932 saw everything shut down. 3,000 more left Calumet and the area came to a screeching halt.
As time went on the population decreased again in 1968 to 12,000 and at the 1991 census, Calumet Township was home to 7000.
Coppertown USA Mining Museum is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media