Introducing the Calumet Heritage Area
The more you explore the Calumet, the more you’ll uncover the atypical beauty and resilience of the land, the industry, and the people. Soak in the sun, surfers, sailboats, and stunning vistas of the dunes along Lake Michigan. Stumble upon architectural relics that showcase the area’s industrial heritage. And venture off the beaten path to find quaint, traditional downtowns; craft breweries; and local galleries. This rich balance of nature, diversity, and history—all within proximity to a vibrant Metropolitan area—creates an unrivaled destination for all kinds of adventures, worthy of exploring again and again.
The Calumet’s landscape is an American story. It paints the picture of worlds converged to forge a new path— where the natural world was changed to make way for industry, where immigration transformed community identity, and where activist roots formed world-renowned ecology, social justice, and labor movements. Today, it is a place of innovation that inspires the passionate doers, thinkers, creators, and explorers that will shape the next wave. The region’s future story—as a destination for ecotourism, clean industries, and arts and culture—will be just as transformative as its past.
Creating the Calumet Heritage Area
The Calumet is a region of diverse communities, innovative industries, and resilient ecosystems. To highlight the region’s significance, partners are working to create a Calumet Heritage Area (CHA). The CHA will bring people together across state lines to conserve natural and cultural heritage, improve recreational opportunities, promote regional arts, support sustainable economic development, and create heritage-oriented educational programing. The Calumet Heritage Partnership (CHP), a bi-state organization, began this effort and is working in partnership with the Calumet Collaborative, a bi-state organization focused on sustainable development, and the Field Museum, to create and manage the CHA. These partners have enlisted the help of numerous local historical societies, environmental organizations, arts organizations, planning agencies, companies, and citizens to make the heritage area a reality. In many ways we are already a heritage area!
What will the Calumet Heritage Area Look Like?
The CHA will connect the region’s two National Parks, local parks, trails, tourism gateways, and historical sites. The CHA will promote these places to locals and tourists with enhanced signage, maps, and educational materials. Most importantly it will bring people together to learn about the Calumet’s cultural and natural heritage guided by the following themes:
Photos: Header, Matthew Kaplan, Indian Ridge. Creating the Calumet Heritage Area: Industrial Heritage Archives_Calumet Heritage Partnership-ri 00198; Matthew Kaplan, Big Marsh Nature Reworked: The Field Museum/ECCO14866_Hannah Anderson. Innovation and Change for Industries and Workers: Industrial Heritage Archives_Calumet Heritage Partnership_.11533. Crucible of Working Class and Ethnic Cultures: Industrial Heritage Archives_Southeast Chicago Historical Society_10460