Spend a couple of days on the Keweenaw Peninsula, and you’ll discover that it’s dotted with interesting communities, rich with history. Dozens of little towns and neighborhoods all have relics from the region’s copper mining past. One such community can be found on the peninsula’s “other” road, M-26: Lake Linden, Michigan.
From US 41 at Calumet, turn onto M-26 south (Lake Linden Avenue) at the visitor center. You’ll pass through Laurium before arriving at the town of Lake Linden — where M-26 makes a right turn to head through town.
I didn’t discover Lake Linden until pretty late on my second full day of exploring the Keweenaw Peninsula, and by then I really didn’t have the proper amount of time that this neat little town deserves. That said, a simple drive down Calumet Street (Lake Linden’s main street) will give you a great introduction to the area. Above, you see St. Joseph’s Church, which was built in 1901 to serve the area’s growing French-Canadian population.
Lake Linden, Michigan
Down the road a few blocks, the Lake Linden Village Hall and Fire Station building was also constructed in 1901. Unfortunately, all of these beautiful buildings seemed to have ugly power lines in front of them.
The Joseph Bosch Building is even older — it dates back to 1893. It’s been the home of the Lindell Chocolate Shop and restaurant since around 1916 to 1918. Unfortunately, the shop wasn’t open on the day that I visited.
However, I could still look in the windows. There’s a random collection of historical stuff on display, including “Bill’s Old Toys”. I don’t know who Bill is, but a small sign does explain the photograph. It shows a Sno-King, or Sno-Go, dozer and plow that was used to clear the snow off the area’s backroads in the 1930’s and 1940’s.
Just when I was back in my car, and ready to start driving again, something else caught my eye.
Houghton County Historical Museum
Just south of downtown Lake Linden, the Houghton County Historical Museum appears to be packed with interesting historical items from the area. The main building was closed (as I said, it was already pretty late in the day), but the grounds were open, so I had a quick look around.
The Trap Rock Valley schoolhouse was built in 1914 and moved to the museum grounds in 1983.
As any good museum should have, the Houghton County Historical Museum also includes an old caboose — this one is from the Soo Line. There’s also another caboose on display, and an old narrow-gauge steam locomotive from the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company still gives visitors a ride on a short loop track.
After the museum, keep going south on M-26. It’s not far until the next town, Hubbell, and its almost-hidden waterfall.
Here’s a look at the drive from Calumet, through Lake Linden and Hubbell, and out to Hungarian Falls, then on to Hancock and Houghton:
The Bottom Line
Calumet and Copper Harbor might get most of your attention, but try to find some time to drive down M-26 and explore Lake Linden, Michigan. It’s packed with history and a neat little downtown district.