Calumet is a village in Calumet Township, Houghton County, in the U.S. state of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, that was once at the center of the mining industry of the Upper Peninsula. Also known as Red Jacket, the village includes the Calumet Downtown Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The village may itself be included within the Calumet Historic District, a larger area which is NRHP-listed and which is a National Historic Landmark District. It is bordered on the north by Calumet Township, on the south by the unincorporated town of New Town and Blue Jacket, on the east by Blue Jacket and Calumet Township, and on the west by Yellow Jacket and Calumet Township. The population was 798 at the 2010 census. Calumet's nickname is Copper Town U.S.A.
What is now Calumet was settled in 1864, originally under the name of "Red Jacket", named for a Native American Chief of the Seneca tribe. Until 1895 the name "Calumet" was used by the nearby town of Laurium, Michigan; present day Calumet was not legally named so until 1929.
Red Jacket grew due to the copper mines in the area. It was incorporated as a town in 1867. The copper mines were particularly rich; the Boston-based Calumet and Hecla Mining Company produced more than half of the USA's copper from 1871 through 1880. In addition to copper mining and smelting, the region also supported the dairy industry and truck farming. Many immigrants (from Poland, etc.) settled there in the late 19th century.
By 1900, Red Jacket had a population of 4,668, and Calumet Township, which contained Red Jacket and nearby mining towns, had a population of 25,991. However, in 1913, Red Jacket suffered from the Copper Country Strike of 1913-1914, and the population began to decline. In the same year, the town was the site of the Italian Hall Disaster. Striking miners and their families were gathered on Christmas Eve for a party in Italian Hall, when the cry of "fire" precipitated a stampede that crushed or suffocated seventy-three victims, the majority of them children. The identity of the person(s) who started the stampede has never been determined. Folk singer Woody Guthrie's song, "1913 Massacre", is based on this event.
Loss of wartime demand caused the copper price to drop following World War I. With the decreased demand for copper, thousands left Red Jacket in the 1920s, many moving to Detroit, Michigan where the automobile industry was booming.
In 1929, Red Jacket and surrounding company towns including "Laurium, Hecla, and South Hecla" were reincorporated as the town of "Calumet". To be even more confusing, the area once officially known as Calumet was then renamed to Laurium.
During the Great Depression, almost all mines were shut down. As a result, many miners and their families left to find work. In 1950, the population of Calumet was 1,256 people. Small-time mining continued in the area, particularly during World War II until it was shut down completely by a labor strike in 1968.
The Calumet Historic District is another area of interest, listed like the Calumet Downtown Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places.