MICHIGAN HISTORY: The Old Mining Town of Amasa
Amasa is an old mining town located in Iron County's Hematite Township. With the upper state mining business not being what it used to be, most of Amasa's income currently comes from timber products. Far from being a ghost town, the old buildings that still stand in Amasa are the kind you would see in one.
Amasa was settled by mostly Finnish people, with names like Ketola, Latva, Saarine, Laukkonen, Kiiskinen, Syrjala, Ekola, Sarkkila, Kilkanen, Hanttula, and Sturvist among the many.
This particular U.P. settlement was named “Hemlock” and it was iron ore that got the town off and running. Mining operations were handled by the Picklands-Mather Company, beginning in 1890 after a branch of the Chicago & North Western Railroad was laid through town.
Thanks to the railroad and the new depot, the town was re-named “Amasa” in 1892.
But there was still more to come...street lamps fueled by gasoline were installed in 1901 and a water system followed in 1905. The town kept growing and growing until progress finally slowed down and declined after 1930, thanks to the diminishing iron ore industry. The last mine in the area, the Warner Mine, closed up in 1940.
The old city hall, firehouse, and jail building has been turned into the Amasa Historical Society Museum. Inside is a display titled "The Streets of Old Amasa" that shows many of the old downtown shops, stores, and other businesses from the past. Old trapper cabins, barber shop, and restaurants are all included.
The photos below show some old shots of Amasa going back over 100 years, as well as some from the 2000s.
If you enjoy Michigan history, this little town is perfect for your roadtrip!
Amasa Historical Museum