Michigan Roadside Attractions: Keweenaw Stone Ship USS Kearsarge and Veterans Memorial
The small community of Kearsarge north of Calumet (population less than 800 as of 2010) in Houghton County was named for the USS Kearsarge, a sloop-of-war constructed in 1861 and used in the Civil War. A former naval officer was one of the many residents who came to the area to work for the Calumet and Hecla Mining Company after a copper lode was discovered in the area.
Workers with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) built many of the area’s bridges, public buildings and roads during the Great Depression. They also built the stone ship that sits here on the side of US-41, and while it bears little resemblance to its namesake ship, it is a fitting sculpture for the local veterans memorial.
Since the first USS Kearsarge fought in the Civil War, four other ships have bore the same name for the United States Navy. A plaque on site shows what four of those ships looks/looked like, including a battleship that participated in World War I and an aircraft carrier that served in the Korean War and Vietnam War. The names of local residents who have been lost in combat are listed on memorial plaques behind the ship (top left corner of photo below).
The stone ship and veterans memorial are located on the way of any trip up to Copper Harbor and the far northern parts of Keweenaw County. Recently, the Brickside Brewery (Copper Harbor) opened and began brewing “Stone Ship Stout,” a 9% ABV oatmeal stout that features a photo of the Kearsarge memorial on its label. It is available at the brewery and in retail locations across the U.P.