A Michigan Governor and Buffalo Bill’s Cousin Helped Form Fostoria, Michigan
The rich pine land that would become the Tuscola County town of Fostoria was originally the hunting grounds of the Sauk tribe. Soon, the Sauks were driven out by the Chippewas, who used the land for their hunting grounds.
Years later, Michigan governor Henry Crapo bought the land and used it for his lumber business. Crapo, Michigan governor from 1865-1868 (passed away in 1869), named the new community “Fostoria” after his foreman, Thomas Foster. In 1881 - twelve years after Crapo passed away – Fostoria became officially settled when the railroad finally came through. A post office followed in the summer of 1882 but closed down in May 1883.
Fostoria was a jumpin’ town in the late 1800s; there was a barber shop, blacksmith, buggy shop, drug store, general store, grocery store, hotel, saloon, and sawmill.
When a one-room schoolhouse was built at the corner of Foster and Goodrich roads, the first schoolmaster was Alvin Cody, who just happened to be the first cousin of famed Wild West star, Buffalo Bill Cody. The kids looked forward to recess – not because they could go out and play on the playground, but because they wanted to go visit the flour mill across the street to see the proprietor, “One-Eye” Kelly and his beloved mule, Old Julia.
Although many men in town worked in the lumber trade, the remainder were mostly farmers, who made their living with potato crops. Flint was a major buyer of Fostoria potatoes, but when the railroad ceased to come through, the potatoes stopped being sent, and Fostoria began its decline.
The gallery below shows some vintage images of Fostoria…..it’s a good place for a roadtrip drive-thru!
The Michigan Thumb Town of Fostoria
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