Copper Country Architects

Shaw & Hunnewell
George Russell Shaw
Henry S. Hunnewell

by Adam Gaugh




Calumet & Hecla General Office Building
25970 Red Jacket Road, Calumet
Built 1887
Addition on north: 1900
Addition on east: 1909, Charlton & Kuenzli

Fronting Red Jacket Road at the intersection of Calumet Ave., the two-and-one-half story C&H General Office Building was built by the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, the largest U.S. producer of copper during the 1870s. Company operations were directed from this building, which also housed engineers, draftsmen, and accountants for the C&H Mining Company. Miners would wait inside the attached shed to collect their wages.

Shaw and Hunnewell’s designs for the building have been described as “broadly Italianate,” based on its Renaissance-inspired details such as quoins and formal elements (a flat, symmetrical façade, raised basement, and rectangular mass).5 The reddish-brown, black, and gray polygonal-shaped rubble is trimmed with bricks spanning the segmental-arched windows and doorways.6

Since 1992, the Keweenaw National Historical Park, established to commemorate the heritage of copper mining in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, has resided in the building.

C and H General Office Building

C&H General Office Building.
Photograph by A. Gaugh, 2006.

C and H General Office Building Early

C&H General Office Building, before 1900.
MTU Archives, [Image #:MTU Neg 02687].

Calumet Public Library

Calumet Public Library.
Photograph by A. Gaugh, 2006.

Calumet Public Library
Red Jacket Road and Mine St., Calumet
Built 1897-98

This striking stone building with its façade of contrasting red and gray mine rock was the Calumet Public Library. The library was built in 1897-98 for public use. When the library opened, the Copper Country Evening News commented that “no mining company in the world treats its employees better than the Calumet & Hecla. It has just completed a large library building which will be provided with a fine collection of books, many new ones having been added to the old list, which is free to the employees. There are baths in the building and many comforts for the workingmen to enjoy.”7  Its official name was the Public Library of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company.

The two-and-one-half-story building with its raised foundation and its Renaissance-inspired details (bracketed eaves, quoins, and dentils) resembles the General Office in style and materials. Reddish-brown rubble is joined with beaded mortar and openings, corners, and details are finished and articulated with brick. Brown-painted wood trims the building and a steeply pitched pinkish slate roof tops it.8

Inside, the first floor held the reception area and the stacks. A large reading room and a men’s smoking room were on the second floor. The basement contained C&H’s bathhouse, with bathtubs and showers for men and women.9

The C&H Library building ceased to function as a library in 1944. C&H managers and technical staff occupied the building until the company closed in 1968. Since then, successor firms have occupied the building and, remarkably, have left the historic fabric intact.10 Today this building is owned by the Keweenaw National Historic Park and is known as the Keweenaw History Center, housing the park’s archives and curatorial facilities.

Calumet Public Library Early

Calumet Public Library.
MTU Archives, [Image #:MS042-008-053-950-015].

Calumet Public Library Interior

Calumet Public Library, reading room.
MTU Archives, [Image #:MTU Neg 05942].