Depot’s doors open to public, donations

Daily Mining Gazette/Kurt Hauglie Contractor Jim Flood looks over some of the hardware and railroad spikes he found during the renovation of the former train depot at Oak and Ninth streets in Calumet Township Friday. Calumet Township recently purchased the building, and renovations are taking place.

CALUMET TOWNSHIP — The former train depot at Oak Street and Ninth Street in Calumet Township is finally being renovated, and township officials are conducting a fundraiser to help cover the costs of the work.

Debra Aubin, Calumet Township treasurer, said from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. June 3, there will be an open house at the depot, which will include tours so people can see the work being done on the interior.

“We want people to come see it,” she said.

There is no charge for the open house, Aubin said, and coffee and cake will be served.

The Mineral Range/Duluth South Shore and Atlantic Railroad depot, which opened in 1908, was used predominantly by the Milwaukee Road train company. Trains ran from Calumet to Chicago and back.

As far as township officials are aware, the last train to take passengers left the depot in March 1968. It has been mostly unused since then, except for storage by one previous owner.

At the beginning of March, the township bought the building for $40,000 from owners John and Jane Griffith after about six months of discussions.

The township is seeking donations for the needed work on the building, and Aubin said donations can be made during the open house or at the township office on Red Jacket Road.

“At anytime, we’re looking for donations,” she said.

Aubin said the township has a GoFundMe fundraising website page, also, at Preserve the Calumet Depot where donations can be made.

Volunteers are also being sought for a committee focused on the building, Aubin said. It’s hoped people with fundraising experience will take part on the committee.

Aubin said township officials would also like to talk to people about whatever experiences they may have had while the depot was operating.

The renovation of the depot is being dome by contractor Jim Flood, who said he will have the interior ready for the June 3 event.

Flood is excited the depot is finally being renovated. He owns the Oak Street Inn across Oak Street from the building.

“I’ve had my eye on this building for 20 years,” he said.

Despite the fact the building has been mostly unused for so long, and water has leaked into the building in some spots, Flood said the interior is in very good condition.

“Everybody is excited it’s better than expected,” he said.

Taking an impromptu tour were Bryan Bender of Escanaba and Roselinde Boyne of Okemos, Michigan, near Lansing.

Bender said been aware of the depot for years.

“It’s a keystone of the remarkable history of the area,” he said.

Boyne said she’s impressed with the building.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” she said. “It’s a real testament of what (Calumet) used to be.”