Three Forgotten Michigan Communities; Places That Had Promise but Failed
These three little Michigan communities barely exist anymore, and rarely show up on maps.
The first one is CAMPBELL, in the U.P.'s Delta County. It was basically a station on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad beginning in 1878. The nearest school was a couple of miles east and the closest post office was north in Defiance. All shopping and trading needed to be done in Defiance; the town had a blacksmith, general store, meat preservation building, sawmills, and a shoemaker. Campbell had none.
What's left of Campbell is hidden behind rows of trees along M-35 with basically two or three homes and the railroad track.
Next up is another CAMPBELL, this time further down in the mitten in Ionia County. The first settlers were Jeremiah and Martin Campbell from Ireland who landed here in 1840. They squatted on the land for almost ten years until 1849 when the township was organized. A post office opened in 1854 and shut down in 1902.
Campbell sits down a dirt road with the same name. Looking at an 1873 atlas and an 1875 map, it looks as if Campbell had quite a downtown section, with things on all four corners - many shops and a schoolhouse. In the 2020s, Campbell just has a few homes, and the four corners appear to have been whittled down to three.
Last up is COURTLAND CENTER in Kent County. Two men take credit for being the first to settle: Alexander Dean (1839) and Barton Johnson (1838).
Courtland Center was named after the township and had its own post office from 1956 to 1901. This became somewhat confusing, as there was already a post office in the nearby community of 'Courtland' that originated in 1841. When the Courtland Center post office opened in 1856, the Courland branch lasted another four years until closing in 1860. Courtland Center's P.O. continued and lasted until 1901. Courtland Center had a township hall and school. Nothing left now but a few homes and a cemetery.
Three Lost Michigan Towns: Two Campbells and a Courtland Center
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