The ‘Lost’ Michigan Town That Was Visited by President Nixon
The community of Ivanhoe can be found in Huron County’s Sheridan Township within the Michigan Thumb, founded as a lumber town along the Pigeon River. Millions of logs were floated down the Pigeon and the nearby Cass River. There were plenty of hardwood trees and corkwood pines to keep the business going for quite a few years.
The Roman Catholic Church, St. Columbkville (yup, it’s spelled correctly), started out as a log cabin in 1866. After renovations, the church is still active and sits comfortably in Ivanhoe at the intersection of McAlpin (a dirt road), Van Dyke, and Atwater Roads.
Ivanhoe’s post office began operation in 1899, with Mathew Ternes as its first postmaster.
Huron County is known as the “Bean Center of the World”, with Sheridan Township the center of attention. Some of the first navy beans in Huron County were planted & successfully grown in Sheridan, and Ivanhoe played an integral part.
An unexpected stop in Ivanhoe was made by President Richard M. Nixon in April 1974 on his stumping/campaign trip to Bad Axe. I don’t see any signs of a railroad in Ivanhoe, so where did he stop? Who did he visit? Did he have to pee or was he hungry? No place to go to the bathroom except the woods or a nearby house, and no gas stations or restaurants are around. It remains a mystery until someone can tell me why he stopped there. Maybe he was a fan of navy beans. Or, more likely, it was just a campaign stop. But again, where would he go in Ivanhoe where there are a lot of people? The church, possibly?
As you can see in the photos below, there’s nothing there but the church and some homes scattered throughout the countryside. Take a roadtrip thru some weekend and see what else you can find by taking some extra back roads. If you do, add these nearby Thumb attractions: the Sanilac Petroglyphs, just eight miles away, and the Thumb Octagon Barn, which is ten miles away!
And ask someone why Nixon stopped.