The Ghost Town of Thomaston: Gogebic County, Michigan
Before I get started, Michigan ghost towns are not the ones you see on those old westerns: tumbleweeds blowing thru town, a saloon door hanging off its hinges, wind blowing up dust, etc. The Encyclopedia Britannica says a ghost town is a “town that was once an active community but has since been abandoned by all or nearly all of its residents.” So keep in mind, a community that can be dubbed a ‘ghost town’ can not only be completely empty of people, but many still have a handful of residents, maybe a small store, but not much else.
This is one of those Michigan ghost towns that needs more exploration, discovery, and history information.
Thomaston is an unincorporated hamlet in Gogebic County’s Wakefield Township. The village received its own post office on November 7, 1891, lasting only 32 years, shutting down on July 31, 1923. It reopened in January 12, 1925 and only lasted another year and a half, closing permanently on August 14, 1926.
Driving thru Thomaston, it almost yells out for someone to uncover its history. There just seems to be SO much more here than meets the eye. Taking a look at the photos below brings that statement a little closer to being factual. The old railroad roundhouse is completely gone as well as the old depot and the ‘spiffy’ newer, larger depot/hotel, built in 1914, that was actually quite impressive for its time. The former tracks go thru town, ripped up with the ties piled in heaps. Grass and weeds growing out from between the rails that are unused.
Thomaston was a terminal along the Duluth, South Shore & Atlantic Railroad that serviced locomotives in the roundhouse. The railroad line is partially ripped up and all the railroad buildings – including a water tower - are gone.
According to Michigan Railroads, in 1977 “A long stretch of track was torn out when the trailing two cars of a Soo Line railroad train derailed and went crashing into the woods near here …..Workers had to shovel snow off the twisted track before new rails from a nearby crossing could be used to replace the damaged steel. The wheels of the caboose were torn off, and a load of coal spilled into the woods. The cars broke off a number of small poplar trees. It appeared that a rail split in half and the cars were off the track for several hundred feet before crashing into the woods.”
The former downtown has a building that appears to have been an old store at one time, with the sign still hanging out front – the lettering disintegrated by years and years of hard winters, hot sun, and storms. Logging was the economic mainstay mode of Thomaston.
Of historical value is the old brick Wakefield town hall, sitting by itself a tad south of what used to be the downtown area. Many deserted homes are scattered throughout the roadside along with a number of residences, still inhabited.
Thomaston is an intriguing look at what was once a decent little community..…as you will see in the gallery below.
The Ghost Town of Thomaston, Gogebic County
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