Where is there a recorded history about the town of Elwell? Very little seems to be available. It sits in Gratiot County's Seville Township and is a far cry from what it once was.

Over 100 years ago, Elwell's downtown area had all sorts of shops and stores lined up along the street. Now there are only a very few left, leaving Elwell appearing almost bare.

Elwell was settled around 1877, about five miles west of Alma and was a station on the Pere Marquette Railroad. The post office opened in 1880; it took another 31 years (1911) before the village became platted. As for the village's name, it was in honor of Colonel John Elwell, who was the driving force to get the railroad to come through.

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Colonel Elwell invested thousands of dollars into the railroad and eventually made a fortune by leasing it. With his money, he built a massive mansion in the town of St. Louis, just 8½  miles away (see the gallery below).

A point of interest in Elwell is the MacLachlan Sanitarium – a stone building built in the mid-1880s by Dr. Charles H. MacLachlan. He was an avid believer of physiological therapeutics, a “treatment of chronic diseases without the use of medication.” The structure was used as a facility to cure nerve & skin disease, rheumatism, and tuberculosis. When the doc passed away in 1920, the sanitarium ceased operating. Over the next 100+ years the stone structure was used as a boarding house, dance hall, restaurant, saloon, and finally as a private residence.

You'll drive right by it when you cruise thru town. It is now a Michigan State Historic Site and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

See the gallery below...

Vintage Photos of Elwell, Michigan


Vintage Photos of Dexter, Michigan: 1900-1940s

Vintage Photos of Rapid City, Early 1900s

Vintage Photos of Adrian, Michigan: 1898-1922

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