A couple of hours away, west of Mount Pleasant in Mecosta County, lies a sleepy village - now referred to as a "ghost town" - called Altona. I stopped through this little village myself some years ago and remember it well.

Altona was settled in 1868 along the Little Muskegon River. In less than ten years it had a blacksmith shop, doctor's office, flour mill, general store, hotel, saw & shingle mill and 25 crude homes.

By 1910, the census reported the Altona population up to 152 along with an auto sales shop, the Altona House Hotel, E. Bromley & Co. General Store, another general store, post office, three churches and a wagon maker.

By 1930 the mills were shut down and the town was almost completely deserted.
No reason given.
A store was all that remained, the rest being torn down; the remains of one of the mills are still visible along the Muskegon River along 5 Mile Rd on the east side of the former downtown area (SEE PHOTOS ABOVE).

Sadly, the business buildings and most of the old houses - some beautiful - were torn down, with the lumber shipped in part to Lansing, where the wood was used for new homes and structures. But what still stands in Altona is worth a quick drive-thru. There are still a handful of old structures to see if you take a little time to look around; plus you can park and walk down the old iron bridge over the Muskegon River where the old mill once stood.

The general store owned by Henry Billings still stands, looking like it did well over 100 years ago...it's not hard to figure out by the pictures above which one it is.

Add this historic little Michigan village to your Michigan roadtrip!