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Calumet Theatre in “Copper Country” – Calumet, MI

August 18th, 2010 No comments

Photo Courtesy of Michigan Tech Archives

By Kris Palmer, CDA communications consultant

Kris Palmer is a communications consultant for the CDA. She and her family toured the Quincy Mines and visited the Calumet Theatre in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in July.  She shares her adventures and insights about the copper industry in Coppertalk.

The Calumet Theatre, located in the city of Calumet in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula “Copper Country,” opened in March 1900 and was one of the first municipal theatres in the country.  Taxes on Calumet’s numerous saloons helped make the project possible while theatre patrons enjoyed years of first-class entertainment by famous Broadway Actors.  The Calumet Theatre has been restored to its former glory, and is now only missing its beautiful electric copper chandelier (which fell and broke years ago).  The interior has been re-painted using rich colors to recapture the original proscenium murals.  In 1900, there was a second-story ballroom built over the village offices for use as a dinner and dance venue.  This space is still in active use today.  Tourists come from across the country to not only see the beautifully restored theatre but to experience what life was like during the boom years of the early copper mining industry in northern Michigan.  Although Calumet is no longer a bustling city as it once was, the copper mines from the turn of the century have left a legacy of elegance and beauty found in the historic Calumet Theatre.   Read more…

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A Copper Country Tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Part 2 of 2)

August 12th, 2010 No comments

By Kris Palmer, CDA communications consultant

Kris Palmer is a communications consultant for the CDA. She and her family toured the Quincy Mines and visited the Calumet Theatre in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in July.  She shares her adventures and insights about the copper industry in Coppertalk.

Ingenuity

Above the surface of the mine we met with tour guide Carol Dolata who showed us the “Nordberg Steam Hoist,” an engineering feat that took one year to re-assemble inside a building that was designed specifically for the massive hoisting drum, steam engine, and operations.  The thick steel rope or cable on the drum can reach up to 10,000 feet on the incline.  The new hoist and building which cost the Quincy Mine Company more than $370,000 in 1918 could move larger 10-ton ore capacity skips (total weight 13 tons) at a rate of 3,200 feet per minute or about 36 miles per hour.  The hoist, which was reconstructed in a reinforced concrete building with brick veneer and Italian tiled walls, served the Quincy Mine for only eleven years – from 1920 to 1931 – but it ran 24 hours a day.  Today the massive steam hoist remains an engineering marvel and is still known as the world’s largest steam mine hoist.  The building now contains many exhibits including the train layout representing the activities of the Quincy and Torch Lake Railroad.

Our trip into the Quincy Copper Mine gave me and my family an appreciation for the hard work and sacrifices that were made both by the mine workers who risked their lives to provide a better future for their families and by the investors who risked a fortune to fund a copper mine.    Read more…

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A Copper Country Tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (Part 1 of 2)

August 9th, 2010 No comments

By Kris Palmer, CDA communications consultant

Kris Palmer is a communications consultant for the CDA.  She and her family toured the Quincy Mines and visited the Calumet Theatre in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in July.   She shares her adventures and insights about the copper industry in Coppertalk.

Two words came to mind as my family and I embarked on a tour in mid- July of the old Quincy Copper Mine overlooking Houghton and Hancock in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula…“Resilience” and “Ingenuity.”  To begin, the miners who worked in Quincy Mine, one of the first major copper producing companies in the world, used to climb long ladders down into the mine – we took the cog-wheel tram down a steep hill offering a panoramic view of the Houghton Lift-Bridge.  At the bottom of the hill we put on our hard hats and foul weather gear, provided by the Historic 1894 Hoist House, and took an underground train through a horizontal mine tunnel opening called an “adit.”  Our trip into the mine took about 15 semi-cozy minutes.  For the miner of 1846 a one-way trip could take up to 2 bone-chilling, dark hours.

Read more…

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