HISTORIC MICHIGAN: The Part-Ghost Town of Pequaming
The Michigan town of Pequaming has been called a ghost town, semi-ghost town, and not a ghost town. So what is it? It's part of all three, I would say, because a good part of it is abandoned and desolate, but there are a good handful of summer homes and residents around the area.
The town got its name from the Chippewas --- "pequa quaming" meaning an area of land, kind of like a peninsula, mostly surrounded by water.
In 1877, a mill began operating on the site, leased by the Chippewa tribe chief. Pequaming became a booming lumber town, with 100,000 acres for the staff of 200 lumberjacks to contend with.
Over a short time, Pequaming soon had not only the lumber mill, but a band & orchestra, bath houses, boarding houses, churches, general store, hotel, 100+ houses, ice rink, livery stable, lumber offices, parks, post office, saloon, and schools.
Between 1880 and 1900, the lumber company all but depleted the white pine trees; after switching to cedar and hemlock, the sawmill caught fire and was destroyed in 1877, replaced by a new one.
In 1923, Henry Ford bought the mill and the town itself with everything intact: railroad, all the mills, land, buildings, cut lumber and more. His operation was obviously to benefit his automobile manufacturing, and it did.
When the Great Depression hit, car sales dwindled but the Ford Company persevered, established various schools, donating goods to needy families and lowering food prices for residents.
On October 9, 1942, the mill closed for good, thanks to a rise in shipping prices and truck tires in short supply. The post office lasted another two years and closed down on January 31, 1944.
If you visit Pequaming, you'll see the original Ford water tower (restored), Ford's former summer house, the abandoned sawmill powerhouse, a good portion of deserted homes and buildings, and even an old Native American graveyard - the Pinery Indian Cemetery - a little over 9 miles down the road in L'Anse.
This is a VERY cool area to visit on your Michigan roadtrip!!!