The “Lost” Town of Carsonville: Sanilac County, Michigan
The town of Carsonville is thought to be one of Michigan’s ‘lost Thumb’ towns…why? It still seems to get along very nicely, even though most of their original old downtown buildings have been gone for well over 100 years. I think possibly some writings call it 'lost' because it's content to stay out of the limelight and just exist peacefully.
Sitting in Sanilac County, Carsonville began life as a log store in 1853. The man who ran the store was Silas Hall, who named this new community ‘Hall’s Corners’. When a post office began operating in 1857, it was called ‘Farmers’. Fast-forward a few years to 1864, and here comes Arthur Carson from Black River…Carson was well-known for selling alcohol to the Native Americans. Once he arrived here, he built a hotel and his own store, followed by a larger one in 1872. He didn’t stop yet – in 1880 he built a grain elevator and finally – since he had a few businesses named after him - the village and post office were named ‘Carsonville’.
Uri Raymond, who founded one of Michigan’s oldest, still-operating businesses – Raymond’s Hardware in Port Sanilac - also built a store in Carsonville. He started up a newspaper called The Bark Shanty News and was a school teacher.
Other Carsonville businesses included the Carson House, Carson Livery Stable, cheese factory, Exchange Hotel, and a few other stores and establishments. In 1911, a major fire burned down a whole block of buildings. From then on, other businesses decided to pack up and move elsewhere – and no new businesses were interested in coming in. Carsonville declined from there.
Even with the loss of many historic old buildings, there are still a scant few that either stand alone or are mixed in with newer ones. A roadtrip to Carsonville and a bite to eat at a local eatery just might be what you need - and maybe raise a smile to a resident.
Vintage Photos of Carsonville, Sanilac County
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