All this week, we're bringing you stories from the North Woods. Yesterday, we visited the town of Calumet in the western tip of the U.P., where copper was once king.
As we reported, the town is experiencing a kind of resurgence:
Tom Tikkanen runs the Main Street Program, a nonprofit focused on redeveloping Calumet. His group did a study a couple years ago to figure out what’s driving the town’s relatively recent upswing. The answer? Culture economic development.
"It starts with our artists," explains Tikkanen. "It’s a natural development that’s taking place. The more art that’s displayed and that’s created here, the more that attracts other artists."
Tikkanen also described the town as a "frontier community" that's redefining itself. We conclude our stories on Calumet with a look at what happens when new folks move in to an old town.
Meet Calumet's newest residents
Stephanie Swartzendruber is one of the bartenders at Shute's Bar in downtown Calumet. Outside, the bar looks like your typical dive bar. Inside, it's beautiful. Nearly everything is original from the 1890s: the rich, dark wood bar, the 1895 liquor license, the beautiful, Tiffany-like stained glass canopy above the bar.
Swartzendruber moved to Calumet last November, and she’s says the town is on the verge:
"I feel like it’s coming back! We have cute little coffee shops and art galleries and awesome bars like [Shute's] in a place where you can buy a house for under $20,000," says Swartzendruber.