Mention Carhartt to most Michigan residents and they may give you a thumbs-up sign of approval. Carhartt work clothes have been a staple of the Michigan worker since 1889.

The man responsible for these clothes was Hamilton Carhartt, born in Macedon Lock, New York, on August 27, 1855. His family moved to Michigan when he was a child and he grew up in Jackson. At 21, he went into the furnishing business where he excelled in promotion and advertising. As his success grew, he added the extra “T” to his last name in order to stand out from any other business or businessman with the name “Carhart”.

Hamilton moved to Detroit in 1884, and in 1889 started up Hamilton Carhartt & Company, now making work clothes for the working man. His first item was heavy-duty denim bib overalls, with railroad men in mind. From that humble beginning, his organization grew to include more mills, sewing plants, and even cotton plantations in order to grow his own material – these popped up not just in Michigan, but also in other states, Canada, England, and France.

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In April 1910, Carhartt dabbled in the automobile biz, creating the Carhartt Automobile Corporation. It began very well, manufacturing and selling a good number of cars; but by 1912, he realized the liabilities were too much, compared to what they actually had in their account. He dropped the car biz and went back to concentrating on his clothing company.

When the Great Depression hit, the Carhartt Company got slammed just like everything else. By 1930, he had only three plants left in the United States. His counter-attack was to start focusing more on farmers and ranch hands.

On March 10, 1937, Hamilton and his wife were out driving in Grosse Pointe when they were involved in a serious car accident. His wife Annette was killed and he passed away three days later, on May 13.

The name Carhartt still means something to Michigan, still providing heavy-duty work clothes, as well as regular work clothes and even some fashionable items.

Hamilton Carhartt and his family lived in Michigan, but had a second house in Rock Hill, North Carolina - an impressive mansion back in the woods. He set up a second home here as a place to stay whenever he came to the state to oversee a large cotton mill.

The gallery below has images of his final resting place as well as photos of this destroyed mansion, still sitting back in the Carolina woods with nothing left but the foundations, all overgrown and hidden.

Grave & Mansion Ruins of Hamilton Carhartt


Inside the Former Home of "The Sheik" - Williamston

Del Shannon (and Inside His Michigan Boyhood Home)

Casey Kasem's Childhood Home, Detroit

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