Northern Michigan in Focus: Rediscovering Emerson

Michigan is full of old towns, some of them abandoned.

In this week’s Northern Michigan in Focus, Corey Adkins takes you to Chippewa County to rediscover an old community that used to call the shores of Whitefish Bay home.

Just south of Paradise, down Lone Pine Road and close to that small island that doesn’t have a name, there used to be a busy little town in the late 1800s. 10 21 20 Nmif

Down there, dozens of families lived. There was a store, a post office and a school, all centered around a sawmill that could cut up to 125,000 board feet of lumber each day.

The tiny town was called Emerson.  It took in most of the lumber being floated down the Tahquamenon River back in the lumber era.

Even today, it’s miles and miles from a McDonald’s, a Burger King or a KFC.

Emerson was so isolated back then the only way the people could get supplies was by boat, and that was every other week. There was no road until 1891.

Today, that road is M-123, where people speed past the town’s historical marker.

There’s a trail where you can hike back to where Emerson was, but with a warning.

And on the island with no name, you can still see the ruins of the old mill that shut down in 1912. It’s now being swallowed up by high water levels, and time.

So, next time you’re speeding up towards Paradise, maybe slow down. You never know what you could be missing.


Categories: Northern Michigan In Focus