Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 28, 2011

Sentimental Journey To Calumet

An old mining company building in Copper Country

Today I’m going to refer you to a wonderful post about Calumet, a special place in Michigan’s Copper Country.

This is the area in the far north of the Upper Peninsula—the finger that juts into Lake Superior—known as the Keweenaw Peninsula.

Copper Country Trail map by America's Byways

Before the famous 1849 Gold Rush out west there was a “Copper Rush” in the U.P.

Fortunes were made and lives were spent deep in the earth retrieving volumes of copper until the supply was exhausted. After a century or so of boom times the thriving towns and mining locations became ghosts of themselves.

The city of Calumet was the (unofficial) capital of Copper Country and it’s dear to my heart because it’s near Kearsarge, where my dad grew up. The dot on the map that he called home is easy to identify along the main vein, US Route 41, just north of Calumet because you’ll see a large stone boat by the side of the road.

The boat is a memorial to the 19th century Navy ship USS Kearsarge, and was built by a crew from the Depression-era Works Projects Administration.  The house nearest to the stone boat is where Dad was raised, and as kids we spent a lot of time playing on it during our summer vacations. (I wonder if seeing that stone boat every day helped influence Dad in his decision to join the Navy after high school?)

The stone tribute to the USS Kearsarge is now a Veterans Memorial (Keweenaw photo)

Anyway, Kathy Drue’s story, Calumet means peace pipe, brought a tear to my eye. I read it just after visiting Dad, who is too ill to appreciate the beautiful words and pictures at her blog Lake Superior Spirit.

Kathy lives in the U.P. near Aura and Lake Superior’s Huron Bay.

I know her only via the www, but through her observations it’s obvious she is a kind and thoughtful person and talented communicator.

Take a trip to Calumet with Kathy, and check out her Lake Superior Spirit and earlier blog, Opening the door, walking outside-A 365 day blogging promise to spend time each day in the great outdoors. (Both are on my blog roll; see the list and click, right.)

If her stories inspire you to travel to Calumet, jog to Kearsarge and climb on the stone boat for me. But do it before the snow flies; Copper Country winters are wicked.

Vintage Copper Country winter scene (Van Pelt Archive historic photo)



  1. Kath, thank you so much! YOUR blog brought a tear to my eye. I am glad you enjoyed the tour of Calumet–I enjoyed your photos and stories, as well. I didn’t know your dad grew up in Kearsarge. It’s a special place up there.

  2. I wish I could have taken him on one more trip to Copper Country…

  3. You too are a talented communicator Kath. I will say a prayer for your dad. How lovely he has given you and your families such fond memories.

    • Hi Barb:
      Thanks so much. We owe so much to our parents, don’t we?

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