Ghost towns are amazing places to visit. They not only captivate our imaginations but also bring to life great lessons about life from our forefathers. Many logging, railroad stations and mining towns in Michigan are now ghost towns.
Visiting some of these places you will come across ruins of buildings and other infrastructure that bear evidence of the past economic and cultural practices in the place. All across Michigan there are small abandoned towns from the past that you should visit.
Some of the best Michigan ghost towns include:
The Fayette historic townsite is located in between Sand Bay and Snail Shell Harbor on the Big Bay de Noc on southern side of Upper Peninsula. Iron was discovered near the site of the town in 1867 and from then up to early 1890s the town was one of the most productive charcoal pig iron manufacturing centers in Michigan.
At its peak the town had two iron blast furnaces, a number of charcoal kilns, a large dock and a limestone quarry fir purifying the iron. The town had over 500 inhabitants and several businesses to support the needs of these people.
The Jackson Iron Company which ran the furnaces closed down in 1891 following the decline in the charcoal iron market. This made many of the residents to move out of town in search of new employment. The few who remained engaged in farming. The town was then bought in 1916 and turned into a resort until 1959 when the Michigan government acquired it and turned it into a state park. Today most of the early buildings have been restored and the town serves as a living museum.
The Sharman ghost town is located in Keweenaw County. The town was established in 1854 following the discovery of copper in the area. It was the home of the men who worked in the Central Mine.
At its peak the town had a population of over 500 people, a post office, a school, a church, saloons, general stores and a number of other businesses. The town also had an elaborate transport system and served as a stop for the stagecoach travelers.
The central mine closed in 1898 signaling the end of the town. The post office was closed in 1906 and thereafter the town was abandoned. Today the Methodist church and the foundation of a few of the original structures can still be seen in the ruins of this great Michigan ghost town.
Clifton was a prosperous town on the Cliff Drive between Eagle Harbor and Calumet along US 41 Highway near the modern day Allouez Township in Keweenaw County, Michigan. The town was established in 1845 following the discovery of copper and the subsequent opening of the Cliff copper mine by the Pittsburgh and Boston Mining company.
The mining brought in hundreds of miners and established a prosperous town with several churches, an independent brewery (Clifton Bottling Works), several businesses and a post office.
When the mine was closed town began to decline as the miners moved out in search of new employment. Today the only remnants of the town are two cemeteries and the foundations of a number of early structures.
Mandan is another Michigan ghost town. It is located along US Highway 41 in Grant Township south of Copper Harbor within Keweenaw County. The town was established in 1864 following the establishment of the Medora and the Mandan copper mines.
The town had hundreds of miners who were employed in the copper miner. At some point the town was home to some of the most productive copper mines in the county. At its peak the town has a post office, general stores, churches, saloons, restaurants, a hotel and a host of other business that served its population. The school was built in 1907 but today only a foundation remains.
In 1909 the two mines closed down forcing many of the miners out of the town. Today the town is made up of buildings from the copper mining era. Although the town is completely abandoned, there are a few homes nearby that serve as summer homes for the owners.
The Nonesuch ghost town is located on the southern part of the Porcupine Mountains in the Carp Lake Township in Ontonagon County. The town was established in 1865 following the discovery of copper on the Little Iron River. The ore here was comprised of copper in sandstone which did not occur anywhere else).
Nonesuch was a prosperous town between 1867 and 1912 when the copper mine was producing. At its peak the town had a population of over 300 people, a school, a post office, a stage coach service, a baseball team, a boarding house, markets and several other businesses that supported the population.
The town was revived in 1955 when the copper Range Company reopened the nearby White Pine Mine. Today it’s back to its Michigan ghost town status and a few of the original structures and the mine can be seen.
Also Read: Gold Prospecting Locations in Michigan
Old Victoria, Michigan
Old Victoria is a picturesque ghost town that was once a prosperous copper mining town. When copper was discovered at the site in 1860s a town quickly grew up to serve the miners. The town had hundreds of miners, a post office, a school, churches and a number of businesses.
Today restoration works are being done on the site of the town with several original buildings already reconstructed. Visitors can visit the site and walk in and learn more about early trade in Michigan and the neighboring states.