Sunday, November 06, 2011

Photos, videos: Grand Opening of Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building)

By Michele Bourdieu

On Oct. 27, 2011, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin speaks outside Keweenaw National Historical Park's Union Building -- now the Calumet Visitor Center -- just before cutting the ribbon for the building, which now houses historical displays. Also pictured are, from left, Tony Bausano, Calumet Village president; Paul Lehto, Calumet Township supervisor; Mike Reynolds, National Park Service Midwest Regional director; Kim Hoagland, Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP) Advisory commission chairperson; and Mike Pflaum, Keweenaw NHP superintendent. Following the ribbon cutting, a Naturalization Ceremony for new U.S. citizens was held on the remodeled third floor of the building. See below for a video of Sen. Levin's speech. (Photos by Keweenaw Now unless otherwise indicated)

CALUMET -- Anita Campbell of Calumet is one of many local Copper Country residents who donated a family treasure to the historical displays in the newly opened Union Building of Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP), now known as the Calumet Visitor Center. Her donation is a Western Federation of Miners pin that belonged to her maternal grandfather, Heikki Hautala, who immigrated to Calumet in 1910.

Anita Campbell of Calumet donated her grandfather's Western Federation of Miners pin (at top of photo) to the historic exhibits in the newly opened Union Building of Keweenaw National Historical Park (NHP) -- now known as the Calumet Visitor Center. The photo also shows a copper miners' strike button from 1968. Click on photo for larger version.

"He worked for 45 years for C and H (Calumet and Hecla Mining Co.)," Campbell said.

Campbell was excited about the Grand Opening of the Union Building /Visitor Center, with the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony and American Naturalization Ceremony held on Oct. 27, 2011. She had been busy for days, preparing for the tours of the Keweenaw Heritage Center at St. Anne's, across the street, since these would follow the ceremonies. Campbell, who serves as Keweenaw Heritage Center secretary, is very active in historical preservation activities in the Calumet area.

"The events last Thursday were extremely heartwarming for us as we've been involved with helping this Park get off the ground since back in the mid-1980s," Campbell said. So Kim Hoagland's remarks expressing 'fierce community pride' really said it all."

Kim Hoagland, historian and chair of the Keweenaw NHP Advisory Commission, welcomes the public to the Calumet Visitor Center opening ceremonies on Oct. 27, 2011. (Video clips by Allan Baker for Keweenaw Now)

U.S. Senator Carl Levin, honored guest speaker at both ceremonies, explained that "Union" in the name of the building does not refer to labor unions such as the Western Federation of Miners, which was active at the height of the copper mining boom in early 20th-century Calumet. The building was actually used as a meeting place for community groups and fraternal organizations -- from the Freemasons to the Odd Fellows.

According to the Keweenaw NHP Web site, "For nearly eighty years, the Union Building served as a meeting place for over twenty of Calumet’s fraternal groups and benevolent societies. Many of these organizations possessed elaborate and secretive rituals that forged strong connections between members and provided them with a level of security and acceptance in the local community. These groups, whose membership was often based on national identity and/or religious affiliation, provide a chronicle of Calumet’s past ethnic and religious makeup."*

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin speaks at the Grand Opening of the Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building) on Oct. 27, 2011.

The Senator was instrumental in securing federal funding for the restoration of the building, which now houses exhibits that tell the story of Calumet's mining history and of the immigrants from many countries who came here to work in the mines.

"All of us who live here and are so proud of the Keweenaw's history are mighty happy to see the story told in such an awesome exhibit," noted Anita Campbell. "The short video, Risk and Resilience, shown at the exhibit, is very well done and so touching."

Following the ribbon cutting with Sen. Levin, an American Naturalization Ceremony was held on the third floor (remodeled ballroom) of the Visitor Center.

Mike Pflaum, Keweenaw NHP superintendent, welcomed the new citizens and the audience, noting how fitting it is that the naturalization ceremony be held in this national park, with its historical link to immigrants. Pflaum then introduced Kathleen Harter Keweenaw NHP chief of interpretation.

"It's been Kathleen's vision for this event that has carried us to the reality that we're all here today," Pflaum said.

Kathleen Harter, Keweenaw NHP chief of interpretation, welcomes the public and the new U.S. citizens to the Naturalization Ceremony in the Calumet Visitor Center on Oct. 27, 2011. **

Carol Poggi, Deputy Clerk from Marquette, opened the court session for administering the Oath of Allegiance to nine new United States citizens. The ceremony began with the Presentation of Colors by the Junior ROTC and singing of the National Anthem by local singer Jan Arnold.

The American Naturalization Ceremony on the third floor of the Calumet Visitor Center begins with a Presentation of Colors by the JROTC and the National Anthem sung by Jan Arnold.

The Honorable Timothy P. Greeley administered the Oath to the nine new U.S. citizens, who hailed from six different countries. They were Ruth Gill, Simon Carn, Mohamed Tarchoun, Cliff Millado, Julie Hall, Shirley Harrell, Tsao-Yin Liu, Paul Jueckstock and Christa Newhouse.

The Honorable Timothy P. Greeley administers the Oath of Allegiance to nine new U.S. citizens in the third-floor remodeled ballroom of the Calumet Visitor Center (Union Building) on Oct. 27,2011. This video clip also includes an excerpt from remarks by guest speaker Sen. Carl Levin.

Mick Dedvukaj, District director for the Detroit District of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, congratulated the new citizens and told an amusing story of how he became a naturalized citizen himself, years after his parents brought him to the U.S. from Albania.

Mick Dedvukaj, District director for the Detroit District of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, puts the new citizens and the audience at ease with an amusing story about his own experience as a naturalized U.S. citizen. ***

Many visitors to the ceremonies took advantage of the occasion to tour the new historical exhibits in the building.

John Slivon of Hancock examines an exhibit on copper mining and the one-man drill.

This exhibit tells how the one-man drill threatened miners' jobs.

Knowledge of copper mining in the Keweenaw Peninsula goes back as far as French explorer Samuel de Champlain, according to this display. (Click on photos for larger versions.)

This exhibit on mineral rights mentions Ojibwe treaty rights.

Here are photos of a few of Calumet's 34 churches that served various ethnic groups during the mining boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

At the same time, Calumet had more than 60 bars or taverns.

Visitors can open this school desk to learn about the teacher in the photo.

This school exhibit describes how children from different ethnic groups studied together in the public schools and "got along."

The new Visitor Center is open from now until Thanksgiving from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday - Saturday.

After Thanksgiving, the Calumet Visitor Center will be open Thursday - Sunday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The facility is free to all individuals and groups and includes two floors of fully accessible interpretive exhibits.****

* Click here to read more about the history of the Union Building.
** Click here for our video clip of Kathleen Harter's welcoming talk.
*** Click here for our video clip of Mick Dedvukaj's personal story about becoming a U.S. citizen.
**** Click here to learn more about the Calumet Visitor Center Project.

Editor's Note: Visit our KeweenawNews You Tube channel to view these and more of our video clips on YouTube.

1 comment:

Becca said...

Great article, inckuding all the exciting parts to this special day. Thanks!