MICHIGAN GHOST TOWN: Singapore, the Town Buried Under Lake Michigan Sand Dunes
Michigan has many, many ghost towns…some completely without buildings, some with a few crumbling remnants, some with streets overgrown with weed and brush, some hidden within woods…and then there’s one that is completely buried underneath the sand: Singapore, sometimes spelled “Singapoor.”
This town, buried under the sand dunes, is on Lake Michigan where the Kalamazoo River empties out.
In 1836, Singapore was founded & created as a lumber export town, just north of Saugatuck and the Kalamazoo River. Buried underneath the ground are the remnants of two hotels, a few general stores, a bank, three mills and Michigan’s very first schoolhouse.
A blizzard that lasted 40 days in 1842 nearly wiped out Singapore’s population; but a ship that wrecked near the area had enough food to keep the townspeople alive…until…
In 1871, after years of success as well as weathering devastating winter weather, a fire wiped out nearby Holland, and most of Singapore’s population evacuated the area, as the blaze came close to destroying all the trees on which the town made their living.
Thanks to the unrelenting winds blasting off Lake Michigan year-round, the town’s remaining structures became completely buried, creating sand dunes and out of sight. A few reminders of Singapore remain…..if you visit Saugatuck you’ll see “homages” like the Singapore Yacht Club and other businesses that glommed onto the ‘Singapore’ moniker.
So go climb the dunes and walk along the Kalamazoo River north of Saugatuck sometime…when you do, keep in mind you are walking above an entire Michigan town, buried and mostly-forgotten, within those sand dunes.
It’s a great historic visit for anyone who digs Michigan history…and ghost towns, for that matter.