Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is speckled with ghost towns. These towns were once rich in minerals and forests, but as these resources were used up or replaced by more modern ways of doing things, the residents left for a more prosperous life elsewhere. The towns left behind became abandoned and have become known as Michigan’s Ghost Towns. Visit some of these abandoned Michigan towns for a ghostly good time … if you dare!
Located in the Upper Peninsula, Fayette, MI, was once a booming town! In the 1870s it housed an iron smelting operation and around 500 residents. That may not sound like a lot, but in the 1800s in the UP, it was! Unfortunately, due to high costs and new developments, the need for iron smelters declined and the smelting plant shut down. Much of the town disappeared as people took apart buildings to build them elsewhere and Mother Nature began to cover it up. Today you can visit the Fayette Historic Townsite. Here you’ll find 20 preserved buildings, with 11 open to the public. Then make your way to Fayette Historic State Park for camping and fun! At the state park you’ll find semi-modern campsites as well as cottages, a beach, playground, fishing area, and a boat launch!
Located on the Garden Peninsula of the UP, you can reach Fayette by taking US 2 to M-183 and going south. This will lead you right to Fayette Historic State Park.
Once a mining village with around 1,600 residents, Atlantic Mine was home to two churches, a school, a saloon, a post office, an opera house, a butcher, and other small-town amenities. But due to cave walls that were scraped so thin, the mine became too dangerous for miners to continue working in. The risk of cave-ins was too great. The mine was shut down in the early 20th century and there was little work to fall back on for the residents. Most of them left to find work elsewhere. The town was able to hang on until about 1940, but then the population rapidly declined. At last count, Atlantic Mine is home to about 80 residents. Many of the original structures of the town still stand today and you can see them if you visit the ghost town. The original post office, St. Mary’s Hall, and some remains of the mine stand alone in this quiet, eerie town. For an extra dose of ghostly adventure, visit the Atlantic Mine cemetery, which is rumored to be haunted.
Atlantic Mine, Michigan, is located south of Houghton in Adams Township in the Upper Peninsula. Once in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, head north on M-24. Just past South Range, MI, you’ll turn left onto Edwards St., which will take you right to Atlantic Mine!
Located on the Keweenaw Peninsula in the UP, this site has amazing ruins and things to take a look at! Once a prosperous copper producer, this town became abandoned after the mine was closed. If you visit the ghost town, you’ll see remnants of the copper mining buildings and piles of rocks. While mainly abandoned, a few of the buildings are occupied by summer residents who are descendants of the original Central Mine miners. Every year, at the end of July, a reunion is held in the recently restored church for anyone who wants to visit the area and learn more about its rich mining history.
To reach Central Mine you’ll travel into the UP and take US-2 west to M-94. Once on M-94, travel to US 41, which will turn into Co Rd. 480 and take you to the old Central Mine.
Once a small lumber town established some time in the 1870s, Pere Cheny is now nothing but broken tombstones and a few foundations of old buildings. This town thrived until around 1893 when diphtheria swept through the town and took the lives of many of the residents. By 1917, only 18 residents remained. The deserted town was eventually auctioned off and it sits uninhabited today. Over the years many stories have circulated about supernatural phenomenon being present in the area, especially around the cemetery.
Getting to this town may be a little harder considering there’s not much left and there is no historical site to visit. Located in the Lower Peninsula, Pere Cheny can be reached by taking US-127 to W 4 Mile Rd. in Beaver Creek Township. Look for E. Railroad Trail, which is a two track road that leads to this abandoned old town.
Another mining town in the UP, Victoria was in its prime during WWI with around 800 residents. It began to decline in 1927 when the post office closed. In 1971 some local residents decided to take charge and save what was left of the town. The Society for the Restoration of Old Victoria now owns the site and offers tours and a small museum in one of the log cabins that remains. Check out the Old Victoria Restoration page on Facebook for pictures and more information.
To reach Old Victoria, you will again travel through the UP on US-45 to US-141. Head North on M-45 until you get to Elm St. in Rockland. Take Elm to Victoria Dam Rd. and you’ll be there!
Located where the Tahquamenon River empties into Lake Superior, Emerson was once a bustling town. Founded in 1882 by a lumberman, this town thrived around the sawmill originally built there. In 1912, the mill closed because fishing took over as the main source of income. By 1950, this town was vacant and people had taken pretty much everything with them. The only thing that remains today are some bricks and lumber and a few piers that are around a small island just south of town.
To reach Emerson you will need to travel into the UP on I-75 to exit 352 to M-123 N. Continue on M-123 for 50.6 miles and you will reach Emerson.
This town’s history is a little different from the rest as the known use of it begins as a fishing village belonging to Native Americans. In 1895, a lumbering operation moved in, and in 1899, it was sold to the Calumet and Hecla copper mining company. In 1925, the lumber mill experienced its second fire and was burned completely down, which caused operation to cease. In 1930, private owners purchased Shelldrake and never developed it. It is now a privately owned ghost town. There are rumors that the ghost of a ship’s captain still stands on the dock today. If you choose to venture here, be careful as it is private property and you run the risk of trespassing.
Shelldrake is located just north of Paradise and can be reached by taking M-123 to Whitefish Point Rd. Whitefish Point Rd. will lead you directly to Shelldrake.
Have fun exploring these old ghost towns, but use caution and respect. While they are technically abandoned, you never know who or what may call these places home.