Another Mid-Michigan ghost town that's not too far off the beaten path is Parnell in Kent County, Grattan Township.

This land was originally the home of the Ottawa tribe. In 1836, the floodgates were opened for European immigrants and soon the area was taken over, replacing the Native American population.

The Irish were the most prominent in the community by 1844, happy with the excellent farmland and closeness to the big city of Grand Rapids. Approximately thirty Irish families populated the area, who banded together and named the community after Irish politician Charles Stewart Parnell. That same year, plans for a Catholic Church were underway, which was built in 1848.

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The church which still stands in Parnell was built in 1878, across the road from the site of the first church. St. Patrick school was founded in 1893 by James Crumley, a Catholic priest. There is also a monastery of Discalced Carmelite nuns in Parnell, which was founded in 1916.

A post office opened in 1889 and shut down in 1903.

Scant photos of Parnell exist, but the gallery below shows a couple, along with the current condition of the town. To see what Parnell looked like in the 1950s, check out this photo...

Ghost Town of Parnell, Kent County


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