What is now known as Calumet was established in 1864 as Red Jacket. It was named after the chief of the Seneca tribe. The town is still referred to as Red Jacket today, and its name is present in several businesses and streets. At the time of Red Jacket, there was a neighboring town called Calumet. What is now Laurium was called Calumet until 1895. The name was not legally changed from Red Jacket until 1929.
Calumet is the name for an Indian tobacco pipe. Smoking the pipe was seen as a religious ritual or a seal on a treaty. The pipes were made of a wooden stem and bowl. Some were plain but most were decorated with feathers, fur, beads, or carvings. Calumets were a symbol of peace. Producing one during a battle would interrupt the fighting and begin working toward a treaty.
Calumet is a part of Houghton County. The county got its name from Michigan’s first state geologist, Douglass Houghton. Dr. Houghton, a physician and a botanist, was designated state geologist in 1840. He and his team explored the Keweenaw Peninsula where they investigated Lake Superior’s copper deposits. His discoveries lead to the great copper boom in the area, earning him the title of “Father of Copper Mining.” Houghton was killed on the job when his small boat in Lake Superior capsized