Landmark will honor Calcite quarry

ROGERS CITY – A landmark to commemorate 100 years of operations at the Calcite quarry near Rogers City is in the works.

The Calcite Centennial Landmark will be built in the city’s Lakeside Park, located near the parks’ band shell, Presque Isle District Library Director Anne Belanger said. She’s also a member of the all-but-disbanded centennial committee. Plans call for two bench-height wings branching off from a 71-inch high wall. The entire monument will be about 23 feet long, and along with serving as a monument it’ll also double as a bench for people using the park.

“We want them to be interactive with it, we don’t want them to just stop and look at it,” she said.

Rogers City elementary students also will get to contribute as well, Belanger said. Guy Adamec, a ceramics artist who has built park monuments, the mosaic for the Flint Farmers Market and the University of Michigan-Flint’s 50th Anniversary Landmark, will help. He’ll donate tiles, and along with local artists and Rogers City Elementary School teachers will help school children decorate the tiles.

“We involved students because we wanted them to understand the local history,” she said.

Carmeuse Lime and Stone, the company that owns and operates Calcite quarry, will have some input as well, according to plans for the landmark. There will be an aluminum plaque, the contents of which Calcite will determine. The company also will donate aggregate to build the monument, Belanger said.

Originally slated for 2012, the centennial committee pushed the landmark project back by a year to keep it from being overshadowed by the Nautical Festival, Belanger said. This way, the monument’s unveiling will commemorate a full 100 years of operation.

Groundbreaking for the monument won’t start until spring, and it should be ready to be unveiled in August at the 2013 Nautical Festival, Belanger said.

Once completed, the monument will include elements of the quarry’s past, both by acknowledging retired workers and by including 350-million-year-old fossils in the design, Belanger said. It also will incorporate the quarry’s future by involving Rogers City youths.

“Part of it was, we’ve commemorated the sailors, we’ve commemorated our maritime history, we’ve commemorated the Bradley,” she said. “This was significant. The Calcite quarry has been the main economic factor in the region, and it’s been pretty much the life blood for 100 years, and hopefully for another 100 years. We really felt, I think I can say on behalf of the committee, we felt it’s something to preserve the history.”

There’s still an opportunity for the public to comment, Belanger said. The library has a model of what the monument should look like, and anyone interested in seeing it can do so during business hours. Comments are welcome through Feb. 28.

So far, input has been positive, Belanger said, with a majority of the suggestions leading to solid improvements. One such suggestion was to make the center wall resemble the quarry’s 12-story mill.

The committee budgeted up to $10,000 to build the project, Belanger said. The Michigan Humanities Council, the National Endowment of Humanities and the Northeast Community Foundation and the Presque Isle District Library are providing funding. Individual donations also will be accepted, with anyone donating $100 or more to be honored on a plaque.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5688.