Burnt Bluff Point is just a ways south of the historic ghost town of Fayette in the Upper Peninsula’s Delta County, named after the small Burnt Bluff Peninsula.

Records indicate that the place was settled in 1853 when Aaron Olmstead built the first house on Burnt Bluff Point. The first store arrived in 1860, built by Schulter & Wilson. Another small store became the postal station until one began operating in nearby Fayette in 1870.

Now, what’s all this about buried treasure? Gold coins, to be exact?

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Here's the story, according to Michigan Ghost Towns: Upper Peninsula Volume III: Employees at the Jackson Iron Company in Fayette got paid each month in gold coins. Unfortunately for the workers, saloons were banned in Fayette, so where were they to go and spend their hard-earned gold to get a few drinks? To answer that question, saloons and cathouses began springing up around – but not inside - the village limits of Fayette. Even though the workers were enjoying this, the townspeople were not. Those men with families were spending all their wages on booze and prostitutes. The drunken men were getting mugged and beaten for their money. Women were being treated like prisoners, unable to escape the brothels without some kind of punishment. Fights, boisterous noise until all hours of the night, and falling-down drunks soon had their toll on the good citizens of Fayette.

Some vigilantes took it upon themselves to grab torches along with other weapons and proceeded to axe, chop, burn, and destroy any saloon they came across. One of these saloon/brothel establishments was in Burnt Bluff, run by a Frenchman. Encountering a vigilante mob ascending on his saloon, he was able to escape. He quickly buried his stash of collected gold coins under a large beech tree and fled to Escanaba across the bay in a row boat. As he fled, his saloon was being burned to the ground.

Over the years, this story has been re-told over & over to an extent that exaggerations were more than likely added. Some say he came back for the gold, some say he never made it back, while others say he made a map of the gold location before he died.

Whereas most legends and rumors are based on fact, many of the above-described details are very true. I believe there were gold coins involved, but as to what actually happened to them is up for speculation. For all we know, they could very well still be buried underneath a large beech tree.

Around 1879 (just before the Fayette vigilante raids), “Burnt Bluff” was changed to “Sac Bay” which it remains as a ghost town to this day, with a few very cool old buildings still standing from way back when (see photos below).

Sac Bay (Burnt Bluff) and Fayette, Upper Peninsula


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