One of the Largest Michigan Towns to Become a Ghost Town
There are a handful of large Michigan towns that surprisingly dwindled down to "ghost town" stature that include Idlewild, Au Sable and Jennings.
The town of Jennings was originally called "Mitchell" and changed to "Jennings" in 1890, named after the post office. It lies on the west shores of Crooked Lake in Missaukee County, west of Lake City and northeast of Cadillac.
On the shores of Crooked Lake, various lumber mills were constructed & operated, the first being built in 1878. Soon, more mills were constructed, lumber camps sprung up, general stores, churches, newsstand, doctor offices, hotel, barber shop, dry goods store, livery stable and more businesses.
The top population was 2,000, dwindled down to 800 in the early 1900's, thanks to the end of the Michigan logging boom. That number dwindled even more in the coming years and nowadays the town is a mixture of new summer homes with the remains & foundations of the old homes buried within the nearby woods.
I drove thru this town one night. It's eerie to drive thru here, seeing where the stores used to be, with the blocks now containing small homes and empty lots. It's sad that this once-promising town went under, but at the same time, it's a very interesting place to visit and/or drive thru...especially if you know something about it first.
If you visit, you should be able to drive down the backroads & dirt roads of Jennings to get a feel of what the town once had. But be respectful - Jennings more than likely has plenty of gawkers drive through. The townspeople are protective of their home and will watch strangers in town. I know this first-hand...we were observed, stared & glared at, and made to feel like interlopers. SO BE RESPECTFUL & COURTEOUS IF & WHEN YOU DRIVE-THRU - ESPECIALLY AT NIGHT.