Back when Michiganians traveled Old US27 - before the 127 Interstate highway - one of the stops along the way was the lair of ol' Spikehorn Meyer. Spikehorn was famous for his bears...he would leave kids wide-eyed at the sight of him hugging a big black bear. His place also had many other animals, like deer, fox, and porcupine.

The sign out front of this wildlife refuge read "Only bear den in the world that visitors are allowed to shake hands with bear" and many did, adults and kids alike. Was anyone mauled? Of course. But keep in mind, Spikehorn was doing this as far back as the 1930's and up to the 1950's, WAYYY before people became sue-crazy and afraid of EVERYthing.

John E. Meyers, known as "Spikehorn," also traveled around the state with his beloved trained bears.

Unfortunately for Spikehorn his bear dens burned down in 1957, and he passed away two years later at the age of 87 in Gladwin. Also unfortunate is the realization that we will never have anything like this again, where we could get up close & personal with real live anyone who experienced Spikehorn and his bears should be glad they had the opportunity.

The ruins of Spikehorn's place are still standing in Clare County for one & all to stop, see, and take pictures.

Visit it for yourself on your Michigan roadtrip: take 127 north to exit 170 just below Harrison. Head east on Business 127 (also called Old US-27 and S. Clare Ave.) and it's less than a mile on the left at the corner of E. Gladwin Road.


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