“once a bustling industrial community”
Fayette Historic Townsite is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan between Escanaba and Manistique. Fayette is seventeen miles south of U.S. 2 in Fayette Historic State Park, accessible via Delta County Road 183 off US-2 west of Manistique. It once was a bustling industrial community which manufactured charcoal pig iron for economical shipping to the Great Lakes steel companies. In the mid-1800s, iron ore was shipped from the Upper Peninsula mines to the foundries in the lower Great Lakes at an enormous cost. This high cost of shipping was caused by inefficient transportation combined with the nearly 40 percent waste the ore contained. The solution was to build a blast furnace close to the mine where the ore could be smelted into pig iron before it was shipped to the steel-making centers. The town had to be relatively close to the Escanaba ore docks, have a natural harbor, and be near the limestone and hardwood forests that were needed to smelt the iron ore. Named after Fayette Brown, the Jackson Iron Company agent who chose the site, Fayette was once one of the Upper Peninsula's most productive iron-smelting operations. Located on the Garden Peninsula at Snail Shell Harbor, Fayette grew up around two blast furnaces, a large dock and several charcoal kilns after the Civil War. Nearly five hundred residents, many immigrating from Canada, the British Isles and northern Europe, lived in and near the town that existed to make pig iron. During twenty-four years of operation, 1867 to l891, Fayette's blast furnaces produced a total of 229,288 tons of iron, using local hardwood forests for fuel and quarrying limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore. When the charcoal iron market began to decline, the Jackson Iron Company closed its Fayette smelting operation. :
This is worth the hike. The view of Lake Michigan is as always one to experience. My family has stories of visiting this place in its prime. You still can find ore in the water. This is only for those who like rustic camping sites or stay on a boat.
Cool place to see. Even my teens said it was "pretty cool". 😉 make sure you go down by the water and see the beatiful rocky beach! The water was so clear as far out as I could see and also had a rocky bottom. Very cool! I was a little disappointed that I couldn't see the latest building- the upstairs of hotel but... I get it. It's old. Lol but that would have been a cool one to see. Some areas in all the buildings are blocked off and set up with furniture, and other rooms are empty where you can walk through. Don't forget to go to the visitor center, and I recommend it AFTER you look at the buildings- I felt it made more sense after you saw the real buildings. $10 for a daily state park pass to get in. Drive another 30min to kitchie-iti-kipi to that state park and get into 2 in 1 day!
This is a hidden gem! I really enjoyed being able to walk through the buildings and get a history of this ghost town. There is some nice hiking trails to get different views of the town and also a nice visitor center with gift shop.
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Fayette Ghost Town
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