MARQUETTE — Small boomtowns once flourished all over the Upper Peninsula as miners, loggers and quarriers stormed the area in search of jobs. But as the land became barren, so did the towns.
Thanks to five months of research, the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center on Northern Michigan University’s campus is hosting a one–of–a–kind exhibit entitled ‘Remnants: Ghost Towns of the Upper Peninsula.’
Fifteen communities were chosen, one from each county in the U.P. The ghost towns range from those which are still inhabited to the desolate remains of a town that once was.
“Some of these places are very empty, so you kind of have to use your imagination to think of what the ghosts of this community are,” said the Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center’s Director, Daniel Truckey. “I think it’s towns like this that are really going to be interesting to people because most people, even who have grown up in the U.P. have never heard of some of them.”
Since the rise and fall of ghost towns, the U.P. has seen a dramatic change in scenery. The land that once housed several boomtowns built in the height in the nineteenth century has since then been replaced by sprawling communities.
“The jobs that were created were never meant to last. A logging town that basically started because they were chopping the forest down in that area. When the forest disappeared, so did the town,” Truckey said. “That’s the nature of all of these towns. I think it’s kind of a symbol of how the UP was developed early on and its settlement and how today we have to be more careful about how we create and sustain more communities.”
An opening reception will take place this Saturday at the Heritage Center from 1:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. Truckey will lead a gallery walk and explicate on the things he learned as he visited each of the ghost towns.
The exhibit will be open to the public at no cost until January 15.