Johannesburg.

No, not South Africa...in fact, FAR from it.

The little burg of Johannesburg is found in Otsego County, 12 miles east of Gaylord.

This area was a big part of Michigan's lumber industry beginning around 1875. The town got it's name from Johanna Hanson, who just happened to be the wife of the president of manufacturing company that built most of the structures and homes throughout the town.

After the population reached it's peak (around 700), the town began it's decline when the lumber companies used up most of the timber and moved on to other parts of Michigan. Even though Johannesburg was incorporated in 1901, the decline of the lumber business forced it to return to unincorporated status around 1929.

It's not a ghost town, but it's not what it once was...there are still some cool old buildings, deserted houses, a war vet memorial and a couple of recommended restaurants for you to visit (SEE PHOTOS).

About 5 miles east is another unincorporated community, Vienna Corners. This village also has some cool old buildings and homes for you to get photo ops with. So hit 'em both!

Add these little historic stops to your next Michigan roadtrip itinerary...
.....you'll dig the trip.