The Old Lumber Town of Chatham in Alger County: Upper Peninsula, Michigan
The 1890s lumber town of Chatham can be found in the Upper Peninsula, Alger County, in Rock River Township.
According to the Chatham blogspot, Jim Finn is said to be the first to settle in 1896, when he built a lumber camp and named it after Chatham, Ontario. When the Munising Railway Company came through, they platted the village. Logging was the main income at the time, with camps scattered throughout the area, many of them having disappeared over time.
Some of the other small lumber settlements surrounding Chatham that do not exist anymore include: Cold Springs, Deimling, Ferguson, Finn Spur, Louds Spur, and Slapneck.
Chatham's first store with a post office was built in 1896, opening in January 1897. Soon, there was a general store, livery stable, and the Pacific Hotel, which opened in 1904. Ed Levy's Saloon (formerly the post office) burned down on September 18, 1911, and Levy (who also owned the Pacific Hotel) was granted a saloon license for the hotel.
During the Spanish Flu scare in 1918, the hotel was used as an emergency hospital. Over the years it was also used as a rest home and the Village Traveler Restaurant. Lately it's been used as the Rock River Cafe'.
Other early businesses included Anton Johnson's general store, bakery shops, at least three blacksmith shops, a bowling alley, creamery, dry goods and clothing store, Frank R. Hill's store, Hillman's store, Joachim Hill and Ivar Samuelson's saloon, Joachim Hill's boardinghouse, land office, and saw mill.
Chatham also had an infirmary, referred to as "The Poor Farm," built in 1907. Residents of the Poor Farm were usually out-of-work, homeless former lumbermen. The farm was closed in 1945 and made into an apartment building, still standing on the south end of town.
The Eat Shop, located just south of the current Chatham bank, was a popular restaurant.
Okay, that's Chatham in a nutshell. Photo gallery is below.
Thanks again to Chatham blogspot for all the info!
The Small Town of Chatham
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