The Laurium Village Town Hall received extensive remodeling in 1914. The original brick front was redone in sandstone. Architect Fred Maas prepared the architectural drawings and plans. The bid was awarded to Chatel and Vairo Contractors for the sum of $7,990. The renovation included an addition on the North side of the existing hall. The addition was two stories high and measured 13 feet wide by 60 feet long with a tower crowning the top. The renovated building was dedicated on November 24, 1914. The corner stone was inset to the left of the main entrance. It is a carved sheet of Vermond granite and contains the names of the village officials involved in the renovation project.
Laurium, at one time alleged to be the largest incorporated village in the United States. What is now known as the Village of Laurium was originally the Village of Calumet. The original Village of Calumet was incorporated on April 18, 1889, but was reincorporated and renamed Laurium on March 27, 1895.
The Village of Calumet was originally incorporated as the Village of Red Jacket on March 19, 1875. The changing of the name of the Village of Red Jacket to the Village of Calumet was made in 1929.
The Laurium reincorporating was authorized under State of Michigan Public Acts 3 of 1895. The name change was due to the keen desire by the Village residents for their own post office. There had already been an established post office by the name of Calumet which served the Village of Red Jacket and the various mining company locations. At this time it was decided to change the name of the Village. Having been platted by the Laurium Mining Company, a bill was introduced into the State Legislature to change the name from the Village of Calumet to the Village of Laurium.
The name of Laurium is taken from the Greek town of Lavrion (attica). Lavrion is a copper mining town with similar type and grade ore as mined by the Laurium Mining Company.
On May 8, 1961, T.M. Jacka, Laurium Village President, was authorized to send a Resolution of Friendship by order of the Village Council to Evanghelos Koutalidis, Mayor of Lavrion, Greece. The resolution explained how the Village derived its name and a copper urn was sent to the citizens of Lavrion. A similar declaration was sent to Laurium on May 12, 1961. It was written in Greek on parchment and signed by Mayor Koutalidis. The declaration remains on display in the council chambers of the Laurium Town Hall.
Six blocks constituted the original village. They included the area now bounded on the North by First Street, on the South by Fourth Street, on the West by Calumet Street, and on the East by Hecla Street.
In 1895, it was necessary to increase the area of the Village six times. After the name of the Village was changed, there were four more additions to the Village of Laurium bringing the total number of additions to ten. The area of the town is approximately 400 acres and there are 11.99 miles of village streets.
In the Village's early days, Osceola Street was intended to be the main thoroughfare. William M. Harris, the first Village president, built the first house on Hecla Street. R.H. Rickard also built a residence on the property later occupied by the Palace Hotel at the corner of Hecla and Fourth Street. Johnson Vivian then decided to branch out from his Osceola Store location and erect a new store. He found property values too high on Osceola Street and decided to take a chance on a Hecla Street Location, this being the current site of Aspirus Keweenaw Rehabilitation and Fitness Center.
Mr. Vivian's gamble paid off handsomely. Within a couple of years Hecla Street became the business center of the Village and rivaled Fifth Street in Red Jacket (now called Calumet).
Local land history dates back to August 26, 1852. The property where the Village of Laurium is located, was deeded to the United States by the St. Mary's Ship Canal Company. The property was deeded as compensation for the Sault Saint Marie locks project. The Ship Canal Company then deeded the property over to the newly formed St. Mary's Canal Mineral Land Company on June 8th, 1860. The consideration was $750,000. The Northwest corner of this section was deeded to the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company on April 11, 1867. The large remaining portion was deeded to the Laurium Mining Company on October 13, 1879 for a consideration of $100,000. According to Houghton County Register of Deeds, the first deeded sale from the Laurium Mining Company to a private individual occurred in 1880, this being Lots 23 & 24 of Block One.
The Village of Laurium is situated within land section 24. The Laurium Mining Company owned sections 24 and 26. The Laurium Mine was located 2200 feet from the Southwest corner of section 26. The site is on the West side of U.S. 41 near the Golf Course Road intersection. The shaft was sunk to a depth of 456 feet. According to Laurium Mining Company's annual report of 1909, the work commenced in August of 1909. The plan was to sink a second shaft 2,600 feet to the North and mine the area in between, along the Kearsarge Flow which ran parallel with present day U.S. 41. However, it became apparent that the company's mineral rights were of doubtful value. The section 26 shaft held mineral rights to a depth of 2,500 feet. The Osceola Mining Company held rights to below this depth. Section 24 surface rights had sold as building lots to form the Village of Laurium. The Village was bordered to the south by shaft #21 and to the north by shaft #20. Shaft #21 was near the UPPCO Laurium substation. Shaft #20 was located several hundred feet to the north of the intersection of Pewabic Street and Old Colony Road.
It was determined that the existing #1 shaft could be utilized to access the ground of both Laurium and Osceola Mining and perhaps even the LaSalle Mining Company, located directly south of Laurium shaft #1. Other mining companies were facing similar decisions, the only way to survive was through consolidation. A consolidated corporation was formed consisting of the Laurium Mining Company, Osceola Mining Company, LaSalle Mining Company, Superior Copper Company, Tamarack Mining Company, Centennial Copper Mining Company, Allouez Mining Company, Ahmeek Mining Company, Seneca Mining Company, and Calumet & Hecla Mining Company. Over the course of Calumet & Hecla's history, shareholders were paid dividends in excess of $160,000,000 and employment peaked at 11,000.