Another ‘lost’ Michigan town in Mason County is the community of Branch.

The town was settled in 1875 with a population of ten. In 1877 it became a station on the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad, as a shipping point of supplies for the area lumbermen.

As the town grew, it eventually had three general stores, hardware store, hotel, livery stable, post office, two real estate dealers, and two sawmills.

By 1910 the population had risen to 100, but by 1918 it had eroded to just 75 residents.

As the timber depleted, Branch’s boom days were over, and now it sits at the intersection of US-10 and Tyndall Road, with a motel, small grocery, and a handful of homes.

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South of town is the old Gould National Battery shop, maker of car batteries, other engine parts and ball bearings. Now empty, the company was described by the Los Angeles Times as a company that "demonstrated both the creativity of a strong and vaulting ego, and also its destructiveness; both a strength and a weakness of U.S. business." As far as I know, the building is still empty and for sale.

If you wanna visit Branch, don't mistake it for West Branch, South Branch, or North Branch. It's just plain Branch in Branch Township, Mason County. Once you're there, take some of the back roads and dirt roads along the railroad tracks, south of town.

You just might come across some interesting things.


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