How the Village of Salt River Disappeared and Became Shepherd
Not to be confused with the Salt River in Macomb County, there is a Salt River that flows within Isabella County. There was also a village in Isabella County that named itself after the river. So where is it?
The first settler arrived in 1857, and the town of Salt River was settled (along the river of the same name) in 1865, platted in 1866. It began as a postal station and soon had a Baptist Church. It's no surprise that its chief source of income was from the lumber business. Salt River had mills galore: a flour/grist mill, planing mill, and two sawmills, with the river providing the power for the mills.
The Ann Arbor Railroad came through in 1885, the same year Civil War veteran Isaac Shepherd began expanding the village of Salt River. He named this expanded community “Shepherd” after himself, and Salt River became a part of it. However, a fire blazed through town in 1887, destroying most of what remained of Salt River, and in 1889 the entire community was incorporated and permanently named “Shepherd”.
So Salt River was no more. In its place, Shepherd grew to decent proportions, despite more devastating fires in 1888, 1927, and 1947. There are a few historians who still try to seek out this missing 'ghost town' of Salt River...but that search is in vain. It got swallowed up by (and became a part of) Shepherd.
Isaac Shepherd passed away in 1925 at the age of 86 and is buried in the Salt River Cemetery, just south of Shepherd.
Shepherd currently has some great old buildings still standing and is worth a visit or drive-thru some day!