Historical U.P. railroad depot to be revamped

CALUMET — A historic railroad depot in the Copper Country may have a future after all.

The historic buildings in Calumet all tell a story, and most of those stories began right here, at the old railroad depot, built in 1909.

The last train departed from the station in 1968 and the building has fallen into disrepair ever since. Calumet Township recently purchased the building for $40,000 to preserve this historic landmark.

Calumet Township Supervisor Paul Lehto said, “You have to remember that almost every immigrant family that came to Calumet came by train and the first thing they walked out of the train and they walked up Oak Street to Calumet. In the heyday of Calumet, we used to have five passenger trains a day coming to Calumet. So it was a busy, busy place.”

The cost to completely renovate the building is estimated to be at least $500,000. The township is looking to stabilize the building, starting with a grant from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

Lehto said, “It’s a very small grant and that would be to just put power back in the building, maybe get one toilet going in the building and start cleaning up the inside of the building. Our intention would be to clean up one room at a time and start with the main lobby area and fix obvious repairs. But, obviously, $6,000 isn’t going to do much, but it will start it.”

The possibilities for the site are many—including a bar/restaurant, a visitor center, a museum or trail head for the trails that run where the old train tracks used to be.