The Upper Peninsula Ghost Town & Cemetery of Kitchi, Michigan
The little ghost town of Kitchi originated in the 1890s after the Soo Line (DSS&A) Railroad came thru in 1888. A post office also opened in 1888 under the name ‘Vanzile’ named after postmaster Marshall Vanzile but was changed to ‘Kitchie’ (with an ‘e’) in 1889. The town grew out of necessity for the lumbermen in the surrounding lumber camps and by 1893, Kitchi’s population was 100. In 1901, the post office closed for good.
Looking at the the bare land where Kitchi once stood, it’s hard to believe there was quite a little town here. Kitchi had two general stores, hardware store, hotel, post office, several saloons, and many saw mills…..oh yeah, and a cemetery.
Some past residents who came back in the 1960s to visit the cemetery where family members were buried couldn’t find it…..it must have been overgrown at that time, for the graveyard is still there, with many generic white crosses dotting the grounds.
Kitchie Cemetery was established in 1889 and lies 5 miles east of Kenton deep within the Ottawa National Forest. It only has 19 marked graves, and the most recent date that was found is 1901. Out of all 19 marked graves, 11 of them are children under the age of eight. Is it an old family graveyard? A military family cemetery that was left abandoned after a few burials?
Being in such a remote area, very small, and only 19 graves, of course rumors and legends began to fly as they do with most old cemeteries…especially those which are well over one hundred years old.
While the cemetery is definitely a must-visit, so is the bare location of the former town of Kitchi – if you can find it. The atlases and maps below give an idea where the town once was. Finding some old building foundations hidden in the forests is not such a far-fetched thought.
The gallery below has photos of the elusive Kitchi Cemetery, the location, and the only photo I could find of the actual town of Kitchi when there were still buildings and residents. Don't let the different spellings confuse you: “Kitchi” and “Kitchie” are both used to this day. Have a look!
Always respect any public cemetery: don't litter, vandalize, or trespass after hours...you can be prosecuted.
The U.P. Ghost Town and Cemetery of Kitchi, Michigan
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