(This page was written in 2012 about our first home in the Keweenaw.)
Our dream to live in the Keweenaw Peninsula isn't completed yet, but our adventure has begun. We own property near Eagle Harbor about 17 miles from where we are currently living, and the goal is to build a home there. That's the property Steve refers to as "One Step From Heaven." Since our Saginaw home was on the market for quite a while, we had plenty of time to think about and pray about what we would do when it sold. We knew we would need a place to live between the sale of our home and the building of another. We explored all our options and were leaning toward the idea of buying something inexpensive.
We had looked at some properties in the past, but we decided to look again when we made our annual 4th of July trip in 2011. Real estate had taken a hit here, too, but hadn't tanked as badly as it had downstate. We knew it would be best to look north of Houghton and Hancock, which are both college towns, because the demand for housing there keeps the prices higher. Copper Harbor, Eagle Harbor and Eagle River were also ruled out. Those small villages have mostly seasonal residents, and home prices are sky high. We decided to concentrate our search to the area from Calumet to Mohawk. That would put us close enough to our property but in a less expensive area - good for resale or future rental income.
We had studied the Keweenaw listings for about a year, so we knew what was available. We contacted an agent from the realty we used when we bought the property here back in 2003. She was very helpful in working with our limited schedule that week and set up lots of appointments for us. This brick home in Calumet was the only place that interested us enough to see more than once. Of course, it was tiny - just 840 sq. ft., but it did have a full dry basement. We would have to put many of our belongings in storage. But, the home appeared to be greatly loved and gently used.
The house was built by an elderly widow in 1968. She passed away about 20 years later and her family all lived downstate at the time. They kept the home in the family until 1998 and used it only for lodging when they were visiting the Keweenaw. As time went on, it was being used less and less, so the descendants decided to sell it. An elderly couple purchased it for retirement living at that time. A short time later, the wife had to move to a nursing home, and she passed away in 2003. It was soon necessary for the gentleman to move into an assisted living facility. He loved it here and would come to putter around in the yard and basement during the warm months, but he wasn't able to stay here year around. After he passed away in 2010, his daughter decided to sell the home. She moved the items she wanted from the house and left behind some furnishings and some "junk" in the basement.
The house languished on the market during the winter months. By the time we looked at the house in July, there had been two price drops. We knew it was a solid little house when we saw it, but we delayed making a decision that week. After all, there was no house sale on the horizon in Saginaw. Two days after we returned to Saginaw, our U.P. realtor called to tell us that an offer had been made on the Calumet house and had already been accepted. We quickly made a backup offer in case it fell through, which was apparently a long shot. So, we waited and prayed. We were confident the other deal would fall through if the Lord wanted us to have the house. 2-1/2 weeks later, we were informed the other deal went sour at the last minute. We scheduled the Calumet inspection for the morning of August 6, and the Lord gave us a purchase agreement on our Saginaw home on August 5. That's the Lord's timing at work! We couldn't have planned it any better.
The day we closed on this home, an elderly couple who knew both previous owners came by to tell us a bit about the history of the property. Then, the grandson of the original owner stopped on Halloween night and gave us some more information. He is the one who planted the trees in the front yard. Our suspicions had been confirmed. This home was indeed greatly loved and gently used.
We've done some cosmetic updating to the home's interior and exterior. What will happen to the house when we build a home on our property? Well, Julie's mom will move in. She's living down the block from us right now, and it will be an excellent home for her. Whatever happens, we hope this house will remain greatly loved and gently used.