I’ve read on some Michigan sites that the community of Wallace in Menominee County is a ghost town…well, it’s far from it. Sure, it sits way the heck down near the bottom of Menominee County all the way west in the Upper Peninsula. And even though it’s a distance from other towns, it still seems to be doing very well, given its location.

Mellen Smith is given credit as Wallace’s original settler, who was given a good chunk of land by the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad in 1870. He received this land free in exchange for his services to cut trees and ship the timber via the railroad. He also was instrumental in organizing the township and the cemetery, both named after him.

All that leads to the question: since Mellen did all this stuff and had these things named after him, why not the town? Why was it named ‘Wallace’?

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When the railroad came through, the depot was given the name ‘Wallace’s Siding’ and later shortened to just plain ‘Wallace’. A post office was implemented in 1877 and was also named Wallace, and Mellen ironically became first postmaster. But who was "Wallace"? That was Wallace Sutherland, the agent assigned to the depot.

Wallace has had a good run. Once the lumber industry dwindled, Wallace’s economy mainly relied on farming, at which they were – and still are – very successful. Visiting the town, you will find some original buildings and homes scattered down different roads and back streets, a handful of business establishments, church, and school.

Wallace wasn't without its share of tragedy. On April 13, 1931, the whole town and railroad station was destroyed by fire. A new depot was built three months later.

So in closing, don’t believe it when somewhere you read that Wallace is an Upper Peninsula ‘ghost town’…it may be small, but it’s far from it. The gallery below has some vintage photos of Wallace and a few current ones as well.

The Small Town of Wallace in Menominee County


Small Town of Brohman, Michigan

Michigan's Smallest Banks, Early 1900s

Michigan's Smallest Cities: Omer (#2) & Lake Angelus (#1)

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