MICHIGAN GHOST TOWN: An Old 1902 Saloon Still Stands in Wilson
Eighteen miles west of Escanaba lies the ghost town of Wilson. Wilson is officially listed as an unincorporated community in Harris Township within Menominee County.
Wilson started out as a post office and railroad depot named 'Ferry Switch' in the early 1870's after the Chicago & North Western Railway built it's station in the area.
The town/post office name was changed to 'Myra' in February 1881; that fall the first schoolhouse was built and open. Thanks to the railroad serving the local charcoal kilns, the area began to grow; resident Frank Wilson built and ran a sawmill, and in November 1881 the town's name switched again to 'Wilson' in his honor.....it didn't hurt that Wilson was also the postmaster.
Other businesses popped up, mostly ones that catered to the farmers and agriculture, along with a general store and a few other stores.
By the early 1900's, the town had a population of around 500 and a saloon was built in 1902 (it still stands to this day; see photos below).
Also in the early 1900s, a group of Wisconsin Adventists came to Wilson and set up farming. They built a church in 1908 and held French-speaking worship services. After a fire torched the church in 1948, a new church was built in 1949 and still stands.
After the railroad closed in 1950, businesses dwindled and Wilson began it's abandonment; people left in numbers to seek work and life in a more prosperous area, deserting their homes, stores and businesses.
The few remaining residents in Wilson are said to be descendants of the town's original settlers.
When you visit the U.P. on a Michigan roadtrip, drive to Wilson...what a great photo opportunity this town is!
REMEMBER: If you come across any abandoned structures - and you WILL - seek permission before investigating.