Michigan has many, many ghost towns…some completely without buildings, some with a few crumbling remnants, some with streets overgrown with weed and brush, some hidden within woods…and then there’s one that is completely buried underneath the sand: Singapore, sometimes misspelled as “Singapoor.”

This town, buried under the sand dunes, is on Lake Michigan near where the Kalamazoo River empties out just north of Saugatuck.

In 1836, Singapore was founded & created as a lumber export town on the Kalamazoo River. Buried underneath the sand dunes, weeds, and grass are the remnants of two hotels, a few general stores, a bank, three mills and Michigan’s very first schoolhouse.

But why named 'Singapore'? It was believed that to attract ship trade & boat travelers on Lake Michigan, naming the town after an exotic island would work.....and it seemed to. Many immigrants from Europe and Canada - as well as other Americans - ended up at port here.

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A blizzard that lasted 40 days in 1842 nearly wiped out Singapore's population; but a ship that wrecked near the area had enough food to keep the townspeople alive...until...

In 1871, after years of success as well as weathering devastating winter weather, a fire wiped out nearby Holland, and most of Singapore’s population evacuated the area, as the blaze came close to destroying all the trees on which the town made their living.

Thanks to the unrelenting winds blasting off Lake Michigan year-round and forming large sand dunes, the town’s remaining structures became completely buried - covering the remaining shops, homes, and other buildings, all out of sight. A few reminders of Singapore remain…..if you visit Saugatuck you’ll see “homages” like the Singapore Yacht Club and other businesses that glommed onto the ‘Singapore’ moniker.

So go climb the dunes and walk along the Kalamazoo River north of Saugatuck sometime…when you do, keep in mind you are walking above an entire Michigan town, buried within those sand dunes.

It’s a great historic visit for anyone who digs Michigan history…and ghost towns, for that matter.

To read about another completely buried Michigan town (this time underwater), click HERE.

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