The ‘Poorest Town in Michigan’? I Don’t Think So!
Harrietta is a secluded village in Wexford County, split into two townships: Boon and Slagle.
The town was first platted in 1889 and incorporated in 1891 as "Gaston". The town was later re-named 'Harriette" after a local railroad official named Harry and his wife, Henrietta. By 1900 the village had grown to a population of 419. In 1923 the last 'e' in "Harriette" was dropped, an 'a' was added, and the town has since been called "Harrietta".
During this former lumber town's prosperous period, they had a brick factory, dentist, three doctors, two general stores and a sawmill. Once the trees/timber was depleted, the townsfolk split for greener pastures, leaving Harrietta to a mere few who chose to remain.
Today, the village has no main businesses, even though there is a string of old storefronts along the main road. There is a fish hatchery, a couple of churches, and post office. The closest store & gas station is "The Mitt Shop" a/k/a "Market 37" just 3 and a half miles west of town.
Some call Harrietta a 'ghost town', but I just don't feel right calling it one, even though it fits some websites' descriptions of a 'ghost town'.
Harrietta has also been called "The Poorest Town in Michigan" due to it's average yearly income: $2,264. The 125+ townsfolk don't appreciate that title, as they are perfectly happy and content with the town and what it offers. They hunt their own food, grow their own produce and heat their homes with wood stoves.
This little secluded village would make a cool place to stop during a roadtrip and meet some of the people, who will greet you with a smile. Harrietta is roughly 17 miles northwest of Cadillac, 40 miles south of Traverse City, and deserves more historical recognition than it currently receives. Go see for yourself!