Life Returns To An Old Jasper Staple



Its fate has been decided. The historic Calumet in Jasper will once again come to life.

Built in 1941, the building at 2210 N. Mill St. has been a dance hall, skating rink, a restaurant and a bar. Now, it will be a venue for weddings and other events.

Owners Larry and Jamie Lillpop of Newburgh will host an open house at the venue from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and the public is invited to attend. There will be live music, food from local caterers and soft drinks. Bridal vendors will also be on hand, and the Lillpops will begin taking reservations for the venue at that time.

The cleanup and restoration process began and the property officially went back on the market in October of last year. In addition to the Calumet, the property includes a newly remodeled five-bedroom, three-bath home and a lake. It all sits on nearly 22 acres.

“Just hearing the stories going back generations, I realized this building is worth more to them than to me monetarily,” he said. “We’re going to continue its more than 70-year tradition and maybe youth will get the chance to experience great times like us old folks got to enjoy.”

According to Herald archives, the property’s history goes back to May of 1899, when a group of local businessmen chartered the Calumet Lake Corporation for the purpose of creating a man-made lake in Jasper to be used for recreational purposes. Construction started immediately and was completed the next year. The lake became a popular recreation spot.

In 1937, former mayor John Lorey’s son, Edward Lorey — who would also one day be Jasper’s mayor — built a home on the land. Three yand a hotel — now the Camelot Inn Motel — adjacent to the lake. The Calumet became a popular entertainment venue and in 1954, Lorey sold it to Ed and Rosie Rees.

The front of the building has been restored to look similar to what it did years ago. Even the neon sign that once hung on the building shines again. A new deck with seating sits on the east side of the building, overlooking the lake.

Inside, the front room has a newly built oak bar and stone fireplace. The dance hall’s nearly 80-year-old oak floors have also been restored and the building’s oak beams are exposed for all to see. The original stage — where hundreds of bands have played — still sits along the room’s far wall. The bathrooms have also been modernized, as well as heating, air and electrical systems.  The venue can accommodate upwards of 700 guests.

After the open house, the Calumet will officially reopen for business with the lighting of the neon sign at 9 p.mears later the lake was refilled and Lorey built the Calumet dance hall .

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