Start counting...this village had three names that went through six changes...

Once upon a time there was a little village named ‘Halfway’ in Isabella County. It was named ‘Halfway’ in 1844 by Cornelius Bogan after settling in the area and opening his own general store. He came up with the village name because he figured since this new community was halfway between Clare and Mount Pleasant, why not?

Then in 1868, along came the Ann Arbor Railroad, cutting through the community. Townsman Jim Bush took it upon himself to plat the village and therefore made a deal with the railroad officials: he’d give the railroad partial rights to his property if they name the depot after his wife, Elizabeth Rose Bush. The new railroad station was therefore named ‘Rosebush’.

To add to any confusion that may have existed, here comes ol’ Elias Calkins. He came along in 1873 and platted another section of the community and named it ‘Calkinsville’, complete with its own post office. Along with the depot, general store, and post office, there was a blacksmith, two hotels, and a hoops, lumber & stave business.

With the railroad delivering freight to Rosebush and mail being dropped off at Calkinsville, it must have bothered or confused other townspeople or visitors. So in 1889 the post office was re-named ‘Rosebush’, changed back to ‘Calkinsville’ a year later, and back to Rosebush – permanently – in 1903. Very strange for a little village that only had a population of approximately 35. With all this confusion, the town’s original name, ‘Halfway’, just kinda faded out and was forgotten sometime during the 1880s.

Now that you know a little about this town, drive thru sometime…there are still a couple of old original storefronts standing. Take a look at some “then-and-now” photos below!



Vintage Idlewild

Ghost Town of Merle Beach

Vintage Ludington

99.1 WFMK logo
Enter your number to get our free mobile app

More From 99.1 WFMK