Three Little Jackson County Communities That No Longer Exist
There are three former railway stops in Jackson County that never made it to legitimate town status, even though they show up on old atlases: Eldred, Lyonette, and Watkins.
Eldred was a railway stop created in 1878 on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad in Napoleon Township. The railroad was ripped up and the trail is now hidden by trees, making it hard to locate. To pinpoint Eldred's location, it was at the junction of Eldred Drive, Clark Lake Road, and M-50, right where the ice cream store is.
Lyonette became a later station stop on the same railway, just a ways west of Eldred on what is now M-50. Lyonette was located right where the tracks cross at the bridge on M-50 just east of Vandercook Lake. There is nothing left to show what it once was: just a highway ramp and the tracks.
Watkins was a stop in Napoleon Township, also along the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad, from the 1870s through the early part of the 20th Century. Located six miles east of Brooklyn and four miles west of Manchester, it sat just above Watkins Lake, west of the border of Jackson and Washtenaw Counties. The railroad eventually closed down, the tracks were ripped up, and the land that was once Watkins is now a state park.
Driving through Eldred and Lyonette might not be very interesting, unless you knew what was once there. Watkins, however, is down a dirt road and is now a state park you can enjoy, as well as following the old ripped-up railroad grade. There is also an original old one-room schoolhouse south of Watkins you can see.
Take a look at some location photos below!
ELDRED, LYONETTE, AND WATKINS