This Michigan ghost town looks like any other countryside intersection, but at one time, there was a thriving community here. All that's left now is a church.

And a big rock.

The former village of Big Rock in Briley Township, Montmorency County got its name from a huge boulder, currently found on the corner of M-32 and Thorton Rd. It's a huge boulder, but only one-tenth of it is showing above-ground. On this rock appears to be some sort of markings. Shapes that look like Native American moccasin prints, deer tracks, and possibly bear tracks.

One of the oldest settlements in Montmorency County, the area which became Big Rock was a wilderness with plenty of wildlife: bears, deer, elk, fox, lynx, moose, wildcats and wolves.

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On March 22, 1882, the village got it's first post office and was named Big Rock in 1885. At its peak about 1910, the town had a general store, church, schoolhouse, grange hall, sawmill, blacksmith, and machine shop. As with most Michigan lumber towns, Big Rock began its decline when the timber ran short. But the residents hung on through the 1940's and Big Rock continued to be a busy place...for a while longer.
The women of 1940's Big Rock were known for their delicious home-made butter. One man described the butter as "good, sweet, gilt-edged butter that makes you think of green fields of clover, dotted with buttercups.”

Years later, after the townspeople petered out and Big Rock morphed into a ghost town, the area was dedicated as a state historic site on May 25, 1991.

The "big rock" that the town was named after is still there, where it originally sat right behind the old general store that burned down in 1966. The store was the first business building in the village and one of the last ones to go.

Visit Big Rock on your Michigan roadtrip (good luck finding it on a map). and visit the boulder, historical marker and church. The former town is located at the intersection of M-32, Thorton Rd. and Beltz Rd.


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