Posted by: Kath Usitalo | October 31, 2012

Michigan Ghost Towns

Ghostly structures are preserved at Fayette Historic State Park in the Upper Peninsula

Michigan has its fair share of ghost towns—maybe more than some other states, due to its history of boom-and-bust lumbering and mining settlements and the towns dedicated to supporting those industries.

When the logging and copper and iron mining companies had depleted the natural resources, the company towns disappeared.

One prime example of a company town that had been all but deserted and is preserved is at Fayette Historic State Park on the Garden Peninsula of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Built in 1867 by the Jackson Iron Company on the shore of Lake Michigan’s Bay de Noc, this was a center of iron smelting, where iron was extracted from the ore mined in the U.P.

Old mining structures and ghost towns dot Copper Country

You can wander through reconstructed buildings including the hotel, homes, company and industrial structures. It’s a beautiful but haunting setting, even on a sunny day. The park is open May-October.

The Iron County Historical Museum isn’t a ghost town, but its collection of more than two dozen structures on 10 acres resembles one. The complex at Caspian, near the U.P. city of Iron River, includes a tavern, log buildings, barber shop, lumber camp, Victorian home and one room schoolhouse.

Old Victoria settlement near Rockland, in the Western U.P., is a cluster of original log buildings preserved to depict the lives of miners in the late 1890s. Open Memorial Weekend through early October.

The Keweenaw Convention & Visitor’s Bureau has details on 20 ghost towns across Copper Country, many of which were called “locations” during the copper mining heyday. Also check out the Heritage Sites of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

Explore more ghost towns with the help of these websites:

Ghost Towns of Michigan

Exploring the North

Goodar Township Ghost Towns

Haunted Places in Michigan

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