The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring

The Story Behind 6 Ghost Towns in Michigan That Are Worth Exploring

Fayette Historic State Park and Harbor (photo via Michigan Economic Development Corp.)

By Amber Ogden

October 24, 2023

These are eerie snapshots of our state’s past.

MICHIGAN—There’s certainly something spooky about a local community that’s been abandoned, and in Michigan, we have our fair share of these mysterious places.

But ghost towns also offer a rare glimpse into the past—a snapshot of our state’s story that we may never get back.

From one village that’s now buried under a body of water, to another literally wiped away by sand—here are six ghost towns in Michigan you should definitely spend some time exploring.

Old Rawsonville Village (Wayne County)

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
(Photo via Historical Marker Database)

Rawsonville was once a thriving community near Belleville. As reported by MLive, the village was home to several economy-driving businesses, including a saw mill and a wagon maker. But Rawsonville began to struggle after the Civil War because it was not able to attract railroad service, and people moved on to find work. In 1925, a dam was built on the Huron River, creating the newly formed Belleville Lake, covering the remains of the village. All that remains now is a historical marker.

Pere Cheney (Crawford County)

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
(rossograph via Wikimedia Commons)

With an infectious disease wiping out much of the population and devastating fires caused by sparks from the mills nearby, it’s no wonder Pere Cheney no longer exists.

As WDIV reports, the town, located a short drive away from Grayling, was abandoned in 1917 after being hit with back-to-back epidemics of diphtheria. All that remains is the cemetery, which is rumored to be haunted. Legend has it that the spirit of an unwed mother accused of being a witch cursed the village with the plague that decimated .

“If you plan on visiting Pere Cheney, have some respect and don’t go in there expecting to see a ghost,” one former local wrote. “Just enjoy the natural beauty of the Northern Michigan countryside and make sure you pick up your garbage.”

Fayette Historic Park and Townsite (Delta County)

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
(rklawton via Wikimedia)

Fayette was a bustling, iron-smelting town back in the mid 1800s, where over 500 people once called home. The Jackson Iron Company created a blast furnace that turned iron into pig iron, which contributed to this town being considered “one of the best places to buy pig iron for the Great Lakes steel mills,” according to

But in 1891, the company went under and turned Fayette into a ghost town.

Standing eerily empty now are more than 20 original historical preserved buildings by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. There is a peaceful solitude that falls over Fayette. Visitors can also take self-guided tours of this ghost town while enjoying the view of ancient cedar trees located across the harbor.

Singapore (Allegan County)

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
(Wystan from Ann Arbor via Wikimedia Commons)

Singapore was going to be the next big city in the Midwest. At its peak in the mid-1800s, as many as 300 people called the town at Lake Michigan on the Kalamazoo River home, the Chicago Tribune reported.

But Mother Nature had other plans when trees in the surrounding area were cut down to support rebuilding efforts in Chicago and Holland, which had been destroyed by fires. Without the protection of tree cover, the town of Singapore was exposed to onshore winds and sands coming off Lake Michigan. Within just four years, the town was completely eroded.

“The town was gone, so there was nothing left to save,” a researcher told the Tribune. “There was nothing to stop the blowing sand. The natural resources were depleted and that is what caused the whole town being buried by the sand dune.”

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
Port Crescent State Park, Day Use Unit

Port Crescent (Huron County)

In the late 1860s, Port Crescent was once the largest booming lumber town in Saginaw Bay. Eventually, however, the lumber business fizzled out after fires destroyed acres of timber, and the town was abandoned. Today, the area is home to Port Crescent State Park.

The only reminders of the community of Port Crescent left behind are the original smokestack and the Port Crescent Cemetery.

“It’s the graves themselves that send shivers down the backs of those who enter. If you go back there at night time, it’s extra-eerie,” states a article. “These are old 1800s tombstones of the original Port Crescent residents. The town is long gone, but the ‘people’ are still there.”

Nonesuch Mine (Ontonagon County)

The story behind 6 ghost towns in Michigan that are worth exploring
The waterfalls located at the ruins of the Nonesuch Mine, located in the Porcupine Mountains, in Ontonagon County, Michigan. – James W. Thompson/Shutterstock

In 1865, this town was once a short-lived home to a bustling copper mine city located in Michigan Copper Country; it was named for a type of fine copper discovered in sandstone. Once the mining ended, the people moved on.

While the town itself no longer exists, there are visible ruins located throughout the woods in Porcupine Mountains. Nonesuch Mine is littered with historical signage of what happened once upon a time here in this town.



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