Shute's Saloon reopens in historic downtown Calumet

Shute's Bar is a landmark in Calumet, and has been since it opened up in the 1890s. Back then, it was Curto's Saloon, but it's been Shute's for many decades now, and the new owners intend to keep it that way a while longer.

John Vertin and Brad Wagner bought the historic tavern late last year after becoming partners in business in October 2009. Vertin's family owned the Vertin Department Store in Calumet for many years and John Vertin felt it was a good time to carry on the tradition of doing business in downtown Calumet.

Wagner, academic services coordinator for Michigan Technological University's School of Business and Economics, had already made an offer on the old bar when Vertin agreed to become his partner in the enterprise. The two have been friends for decades.

So after a lot of remodeling, cleaning and some paperwork –- the liquor license just arrived in late July –- Shute's reopened for business this month. It had been closed since March 2009.

The bar is located next to the Calumet Theatre and hearkens back to the Copper Country's boom-town days, with restored original back bar, main bar, booths and an elaborate stained-glass canopy.

The saloon's historic bar and glass canopy remain in place, as historically significant architectural details. Wagner told the Daily Mining Gazette in Houghton they actually are owned by the village of Calumet, and leased by the bar owners.

Vertin and Wagner said they are looking forward to greeting old customers of Shute's along with new faces, and welcome the community to come in and see what they've done with the business.

"We're very much aware of the community interest in the place," Wagner says.

Writer: Sam Eggleston
Source: Brad Wagner, Shute's Bar
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