The Scandalous Women That ‘Named’ a Michigan Ghost Town ‘Bloomer’
The now-non-existent Michigan town of Bloomer was named after just that: bloomers. Women’s garments.
A ladies’ alternative to constrictive tight dresses of the 1800s.
200 years ago, bloomers were considered extremely sexy as well…and it was a “scandalous” group of women that were responsible for the town’s name.
This little forgotten village still sits, practically devoid of any people, in Montcalm County’s lower-mid section at the lonely, empty crossroads of Miner & Fenwick roads. Driving through, you would never know there was some heavy action here back in the mid-1800s.
Bloomer existed from 1851-1886, first as a post office named ‘Bloomer Centre’ then shortened to just plain ‘Bloomer’. Aside from a post office, the village had a blacksmith, cemetery, church, schoolhouse, and a few shops & stores.
It was in the winter of 1851-1852 when resident Isaac Pennington held a dance at his cabin. A group of mischievous, rowdy ladies got wind of this party and decided to crash it. Not only did they crash the party, but they all showed up wearing no dresses…but bloomers.
Needless to say, a group of school deacons who had stopped there for the night and were attending the party, were visibly shaken and embarrassed! After the initial shock, things quieted down and the jokes began. When springtime came just a few months later, the township was searching for a name. The bloomer incident was still fresh in the minds of the community, and the name ‘Bloomer’ was chosen as the name of the township, as well as the post office and village.
Why did these ladies do this? The year 1851 saw a bloomer craze explosion, and this particular garment had become a symbol of women’s rights. It was a good way for these boisterous ladies to show their defiance by showing up in bloomers..
Others who fail to believe this outlandish tale say the township wanted to be called ‘Bloomingdale’ but couldn’t because there was already another township with that name. But most people agree with the first version…that the outlandish women who crashed a party with their risque’ bloomers are indeed responsible for the name…and now the village is completely gone.
Now that you know the story, a little roadtrip to this lonesome crossroads for a photo op might not be a bad idea. See the photos below!
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