MICHIGAN GHOST TOWN: The Violent Past of Ahmeek
A few years ago, I was up in the Keewenaw Peninsula and stopped in this little town of Ahmeek. According to the 2010 census, only 146 people resided in Ahmeek, making this an unofficial ghost town…and looking at the pictures, it sure looks like one.
What I noticed when I was there (and what you’ll see in the pictures above) were the deserted streets…the downtown area – what there is of it – had no people, no vehicles, no activity. It was even hard to find a still-operating business. The whole town is seen as one big empty square block, looking at it from an aerial view.
The name “Ahmeek” is a word taken from the Chippewa term, “amik,” which means “beaver.” And, as small as it is (only 0.07 square miles total), it is the ONLY incorporated town in Keewenaw County.
Ahmeek was founded in 1904 as a mining town and it grew rapidly. Thanks to the Copper County Strike of 1913-1914, the town became a hotbed of violence: bombs, guns, stoning, fights, murder, beatings, dynamiting…so much so, that the police and militia had to be brought in. Find out more details on this story at http://www.hu.mtu.edu/vup/Strike/.
Nowadays, it’s quiet and some of the old mines are still visible. It’s a drive to get there but it’s an interesting part of Michigan history…take a couple of days off sometime and try to get there!