Park announces Visitor Center closure

CALUMET – Keweenaw National Historical Park announced Friday the temporary closure of the Calumet Visitor Center.

The Center will close Sunday and will re-open May 23, according to a release received from KNHP Management Assistant Tom Baker.

Beginning May 23, the Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through September 7. According to the release, the park plans to keep the center open “two or three days per week through the month of September as budget and staffing levels permit.”

Formerly known as the Union Building, the structure was built in 1888-89 by the Union Building Association on property owned by the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company, which leased the land to the organization. It was the headquarters for the fraternal organizations Free and Accepted Masons and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. Over the decades, several businesses rented space on the ground floor of the three-and-a-half story building.

According to a 2011 Daily Mining Gazette article, the building was privately owned in 1999 when the park service bought it, It was in need of some immediate repairs, and $1.9 million was spent on facade work, foundation work, installation of an interior fire suppression system, replacement of first-floor windows, and roof repair. Renovation work on the interior did not begin until 2010.

The nearly $4 million renovation project to make the first-floor visitor center and the exhibits display on the second floor was completed in September, 2011 and on October 27, 2011, it was opened to the public.