This Was One of Michigan’s First Ghost Towns
Even though Ottawa County's town of Port Sheldon seems to be doing very well these days, at one time it was one of Michigan's first ghost towns.
A man by the name of Alex Joudon arrived here from Pennsylvania in 1835. According to Port Sheldon Township, he enlisted a group of well-to-do men, bought 600 acres of land, and founded the Port Sheldon Land Company with the intention of forming a new city.
Before the term “pre-fab” homes was coined, these men had sections of pre-built homes to be constructed over 142 blocks, with 24 lots on each one. They kept shelling out more & more money in hopes of adding churches, depot, fish market, schools, sidewalks, and streets.
A $40,000 hotel – The Ottawa House - was completed along with a general store, lighthouse, pier, two miles of railroad, and sawmill. They even bought a yacht and moored it to the dock.
All this money – thousands of dollars spent – for nothing. Michigan Ghost Towns says the Port Sheldon Land Company couldn't live up to their hopes and expectations and the investors all went broke, mainly thanks to the wildcat banks in 1837. From that point on, Port Sheldon was abandoned and left deserted, basically becoming a ghost town.
Almost 100 years later in the 1930s, Port Sheldon saw new growth when berry growers discovered the land was great for growing blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The town saw a rebirth with a depot, general stores, and post office. Along with the berry crops, Port Sheldon exported grain, lumber, and pickles and more & more people began moving to town.
Nowadays, what was once one of Michigan's first ghost towns is now one of our top producers of fruit and prospering very well. Take a look at the photo gallery below!