Explore the Copper Country’s history with a trip to the Calumet Theatre!


Michigan Technological University Archives and Copper Country Historical Images

The Calumet Theatre, seen here in this old postcard, is the largest opera house north of Green Bay. It’s interior is as impressive as its exterior!

Elizabeth Keysor, Lode Writer

The Calumet Theatre has a long and storied history in the Copper Country. Opened in March of 1900, it was once the most glamorous performing center in the Keweenaw, and it played host to a number of performers of historical note. Famed actress and singer of the early twentieth century Lillian Russell, successful composer John Philip Sousa, and even Harry Houdini, the famous Hungarian escape artist, once graced the theatre’s stage. 

Following the Great Depression, the theatre acted primarily as a movie house for the town of Calumet. It attained national landmark status in 1971 and received comprehensive restoration work, spanning the past four decades, to bring the theatre back to its former impressive glory. In 1983, the theatre gained incorporation as its own cultural organization, a measure which has promoted its continual restoration. 

Having temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Calumet Theatre Box Office reopened to the public on Wednesday, Feb. 17. Tickets for upcoming performances, such as country singer Joe Nichols on May 27, 2021, are available for purchase, in addition to a number of different types of souvenirs, ranging from t-shirts and sweatshirts to beanies and commemorative mugs. The theatre itself will also be open for visits, so if you’ve ever wanted to see its impressive interior for yourself, now is your chance! The theatre is open Wednesday through Friday, from noon to 5:00 p.m., for self guided tours. Guided tours of the theatre are also available, but by appointment only. 

The current organization running the theatre, The Calumet Theatre Company, is a non-profit organization run by members and volunteers alike. These patrons maintain the theatre through ticket sales to their dozens of annual performances, different fundraising events throughout the year, and donations from members of the theatre community, both locally and abroad. 

If you have any questions regarding visiting the theatre or making a donation, please contact the box office at (906) 337-2610, or visit the Calumet theatre website, www.calumettheatre.com