Stonington Peninsula & Ghost Town Fayette

September 10, 2014  •  1 Comment

It was a stormy exit from Wisconsin as we left Door County and headed out to Michigan and our next stop in Stonington Peninsula.  We would spend several days at the Vagabond Resort just outside of Rapid River for some Lighthouse, Monarch butterfly, and Ghost Town fun. 

 

Green Bay, WI - Storm North of Green Bay-4Green Bay, WI - Storm North of Green Bay-4As we circumvented Green Bay, Wisconsin this awesome scene lay before us. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander

 

As we circumvented Green Bay, Wisconsin this awesome scene lay before us.


Green Bay, WI - Storm North of Green BayGreen Bay, WI - Storm North of Green BayAbout this time Dave is thinking it may not be so awesome to pull a travel trailer through this one. Wound up pulling over and waiting out the 60 mph plus winds before heading on into Michigan. We would shortly run into roadblocks on highway 35 in Michigan due to storm damage. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander

 

About this time Dave is thinking it may not be so awesome to pull a travel trailer through this one. Wound up pulling over and waiting out the 60 mph plus winds before heading on into Michigan. We would shortly run into roadblocks on highway 35 in Michigan due to storm damage.


Stonington Peninsula, MI - Peninsula Point Light House MonarchsStonington Peninsula, MI - Peninsula Point Light House MonarchsThe Stonington Peninsula's shape guides Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico. Thousands of them rest at the Peninsula Point Lighthouse in the early fall before crossing Lake Michigan to Door County, Wisconsin.

In the summer, the Monarchs use clearings here to lay eggs, which feed on milkweed and wildflowers as larva.
Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

The Stonington Peninsula's shape guides Monarch butterflies as they migrate to Mexico. Thousands of them rest at the Peninsula Point Lighthouse in the early fall before crossing Lake Michigan to Door County, Wisconsin.  In the summer, the Monarchs use clearings here to lay eggs, which feed on milkweed and wildflowers as larva. 


 

Stonington Peninsula, MI - Peninsula Point Lighthouse Monarchs - 2Stonington Peninsula, MI - Peninsula Point Lighthouse Monarchs - 2This important stop for the Monarch Butterfly on their migration to Mexico may not be the same in the future. According to information at the Peninsula Point Lighthouse, where this photo was taken, their winter home in Mexico is in danger, and the milkweed and wildflowers found on Stonington Peninsula are diminishing, removing a food source for new larva from eggs laid here by the Monarchs in the summer. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

This important stop for the Monarch Butterfly on their migration to Mexico may not be the same in the future. According to information at the Peninsula Point Lighthouse, where this photo was taken, their winter home in Mexico is in danger, and the milkweed and wildflowers found on Stonington Peninsula are diminishing, removing a food source for new larva from eggs laid here by the Monarchs in the summer.  

 

Stonington, MI - Peninsula Point LighthouseStonington, MI - Peninsula Point LighthouseThe Peninsula Point Lighthouse on the southern tip of the Stonington Peninsula, heading into Little Bay de Noc (Michigan) was built in 1865 and manned until 1922 when it was automated. It was an active aid to navigation up to 1934. The attached house burned down in the late 1950s. Today the lighthouse is on the National Historic Register. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

The Peninsula Point Lighthouse on the southern tip of the Stonington Peninsula, heading into Little Bay de Noc (Michigan) was built in 1865 and manned until 1922 when it was automated. It was an active aid to navigation up to 1934. The attached house burned down in the late 1950s. Today the lighthouse is on the National Historic Register. 


Stonington, MI - Peninsula Point Lighthouse - 2Stonington, MI - Peninsula Point Lighthouse - 2The first keeper of the Peninsula Point lighthouse was Charles Beggs, who died there in 1887. Henry Corgan and later Peter Knutsen played the role. In 1889, Captain James D. Armstrong would become the final keeper of the lighthouse, which he made his families home until 1922 when it was automated. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

The first keeper of the Peninsula Point lighthouse was Charles Beggs, who died there in 1887. Henry Corgan and later Peter Knutsen played the role. In 1889, Captain James D. Armstrong would become the final keeper of the lighthouse, which he made his families home until 1922 when it was automated. 


Stonington Township, MI - Old BoatStonington Township, MI - Old BoatThis old boat in the Stonington Township seems to symbolize some of the area's history as Stonington is now primarily farming. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

This old boat in the Stonington Township seems to symbolize some of the area's history as Stonington is now primarily farming. 


Stonington, MI - Hive WindowStonington, MI - Hive WindowA bee hive sits in a broken window at an abandoned home in Stonington Township, Michigan. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

A beehive sits in a broken window at an abandoned home in Stonington Township.


Stonington, MI - Standard StationStonington, MI - Standard StationThe owner of this property keeps up the appearance of an old Standard Station in Stonington Township. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

The owner of this property keeps up the appearance of an old Standard Station in Stonington Township.

 

Isabella, MI - BarnIsabella, MI - BarnA Barn near the ghost town of Isabella, Michigan. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

A Barn near the ghost town of Isabella, Michigan.


 

Fayette, MI - Trailer Near FayetteFayette, MI - Trailer Near FayetteNot all is pretty in the Fayette area of Michigan. However, we found this junked-out trailer to be interesting and colorful. Photo by Dave Alexander

 

Not all is pretty in the Fayette area of Michigan. However, we found this junked-out trailer to be interesting and colorful.
 

Fayette Historic State Park and Townsite

 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - BuildingsFayette Historic Park, MI - BuildingsPhoto by Dave Alexander.

 

This 19th Century, well-preserved town, was most industrious.  They manufactured charcoal pig iron here from 1867 to 1891, along with lime.   Now in a State Historic Park, visitors can take a walking tour among 20 original structures, including eleven buildings with museum displays and plenty of scenic views of this harbor town of yesterday.
 

 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Snail Shell Harbor BoatFayette Historic Park, MI - Snail Shell Harbor BoatPhoto by Dave Alexander.

 

Located on the southern side of the Upper Peninsula on Big Bay de Noc, Lake Michigan, Fayette was at its peak the most productive iron smelting operation in the area. Shortly after the Civil War, this company town grew up around two very large blast furnaces, charcoal kilns, a lime kiln, and a large dock.
 

 

 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Cormorant BirdFayette Historic Park, MI - Cormorant BirdThanks Albert Hall for pointing out this is a Cormorant. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Thanks, Albert Hall for pointing out this is a Cormorant. 


Fayette Historic Park, MI - Charcoal KilnFayette Historic Park, MI - Charcoal KilnThis reconstructed charcoal kiln is an example of how Colliers manufactured charcoal to fuel the furnaces at a row of kilns nearby on the Garden Peninsula. By the mid-1880s over eighty kilns were in operation within ten miles of Fayette. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

This reconstructed charcoal kiln is an example of how Colliers manufactured charcoal to fuel the furnaces at a row of kilns nearby on the Garden Peninsula. By the mid-1880s over eighty kilns were in operation within ten miles of Fayette.  About 500 residents lived here, and during its peak in population, half were children. The laborers and skilled tradesmen produced over 225,000 tons of pig iron during its 24 years of activity, all splitting up just over $5,000 in payroll each month. 
 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Lime KilnFayette Historic Park, MI - Lime KilnIn 1882 it was announced that the company would build a lime kiln and begin manufacturing lime. Limestone quarried from the bluff at Fayette was heated in this kiln to produce lime used in mortar for masonry, chinking for log houses and plaster for interior walls. Excess lime was sold in Escanaba. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

In 1882 it was announced that the company would build a lime kiln and begin manufacturing lime. Limestone quarried from the bluff at Fayette was heated in this kiln to produce lime used in mortar for masonry, chinking for log houses and plaster for interior walls. Excess lime was sold in Escanaba, which was a two-day trip by stage, or 3 hours by boat across Big Bay de Noc.  In the winter, when the lake froze, residents could ride a stage sled across to Escanaba.


Fayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace Complex - 4Fayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace Complex - 4A massive blast furnace still stands here as part of the well preserved history of this 19th century industrial town. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

A massive blast furnace still stands here as part of the well-preserved history of this 19th-century industrial town.
 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Superintendent House - 2Fayette Historic Park, MI - Superintendent House - 2Fayette's central business district separated the company housing. Tradesmen and supervisors lived with their families in comfortable framed houses like this Superintendent House. Simple log homes of the town's unskilled laboring class stretched in rows along the hill, road, and shoreline. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Fayette's central business district separated the company housing. Tradesmen and supervisors lived with their families in comfortable framed houses like this Superintendent House. Simple log homes of the town's unskilled laboring class stretched in rows along the hill, road, and shoreline.
 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace Complex InteriorFayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace Complex InteriorNearly 230,000 tons of charcoal-iron were produced in Fayette from 1867 to 1890. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

Nearly 230,000 tons of charcoal-iron were produced in Fayette from 1867 to 1890.


 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - HotelFayette Historic Park, MI - HotelStagecoaches linked 19th-century Fayette with neighboring communities. Two livery businesses rented horses and buggies, while stage lines carried passengers to Garden, Manistique and Escanaba. The overland route to Escanaba took two days, but only three hours by boat. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Stagecoaches linked 19th-century Fayette with neighboring communities. Two livery businesses rented horses and buggies, while stage lines carried passengers to Garden, Manistique and Escanaba. The overland route to Escanaba took two days, but only three hours by boat.


Fayette Historic Park, MI - Slag BeachFayette Historic Park, MI - Slag BeachSlag Beach was an industrial dump site, where glass like slag, or cinder, mixed with iron can still be found. The Jackson Iron Company used the furnace waste product as a road base and fill material. This beach also served as local residents landfill, and Fayette was known for not being a tidy town. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Slag Beach was an industrial dump site, where glass-like slag, or cinder, mixed with iron can still be found. The Jackson Iron Company used the furnace waste product as a road base and fill material. This beach also served as local residents' landfill, and Fayette was known for not being a tidy town.


 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Company Store - 3Fayette Historic Park, MI - Company Store - 3In 1870 a three story warehouse was built next to a wood-frame store. Then in 1886 the wood store was also replaced. The entire building was destroyed by fire in the 1900s. Although Fayette Michigan shoppers were treated to "clearing sales", mail-order businesses and other competitors offered lower prices. One resident is quoted as saying "No Matter how fairly it is managed, the company store is generally considered a "pluck me". Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

In 1870 a three-story warehouse was built next to a wood-frame store. Then in 1886, the wood store was also replaced. The entire building was destroyed by fire in the 1900s.  Although Fayette Michigan shoppers were treated to "clearing sales", mail-order businesses and other competitors offered lower prices. One resident is quoted as saying "No Matter how fairly it is managed, the company store is generally considered a "pluck me".


 

Fayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace ComplexFayette Historic Park, MI - Furnace ComplexRooms on the upper level of the furnace complex housed the machinery which powered the foundry's hot blast. Boilers supplied the steam to blowing engines which forced air through the host blast ovens and into the furnaces. The furnace stacks were enlarged and modified over time. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

 

Rooms on the upper level of the furnace complex housed the machinery which powered the foundry's hot blast. Boilers supplied the steam to blowing engines which forced air through the host blast ovens and into the furnaces. The furnace stacks were enlarged and modified over time. It would be short-lived due to the exhaustion of hardwoods, and the Jackson Iron Company closed its Fayette smelting operations in 1891 when the market declined. Although some residents stayed and farmed, many left Fayette.

We found this historic park well worth the price of admission to see a bit of history at your own leisure. They've done a great job of maintaining and reconstructing the buildings that are left, with plenty of information to give you a real sense of what life was like here. You will want to plan for at least two hours at the Fayette Historic Townsite. 
 

 

See our article about Fayette, Michigan Historic Townsite

 

 

Fairport, MI - Fish MarketFairport, MI - Fish MarketIn the small fishing community of Fairport, Michigan on the tip of the peninsula, this building has a sign that says Fish Market, though we doubt it is anymore.

 

In the small fishing community of Fairport, Michigan on the tip of the peninsula, this building has a sign that says Fish Market, though we doubt it is anymore. We found plenty of interesting photo opportunities in this area.  

 

See our Michigan Upper Peninsula Photo Print Galleries HERE
 

 

Also See: 

Michigan – The Great Lakes State

 

 


Rapid River - Vaga Bond Resort - DogsRapid River - Vaga Bond Resort - DogsCan you tell we love our dogs? They aren't spoiled though... Really...I swear. Photo by Dave Alexander.

 

Can you tell we love our dogs? They aren't spoiled though... Really...I swear. While in this area we stayed at Vagabond Resort just outside of Rapid River, MI.  This is an older RV Park, and though it looks a little run down, we found the management and WIFI to be excellent (at least in 2014)!  


Rapid River - Vaga Bond Resort - FootstepsRapid River - Vaga Bond Resort - FootstepsWe left our footprints in this area of Michigan. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander</a>.

 

We left our footprints in this area of Michigan. Looking forward to leaving more. 

 

Dave & Kathy

 


 

 


Comments

gary t(non-registered)
excellant series on Fayette !!!!!!!
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