There have been many settlements, hamlets and former villages in Macomb County.
Many grew around the railroad lines and were very prosperous for a time. Most of these listed here had a U.S. post office at one time. Some, like Warsaw (now part of Mount Clemens) and Beebe’s Corner (now part of Richmond) were absorbed by other settlements. Some were abandoned due to a natural disaster, such as the flooding of Belvidere. In many cases, remnants of the old settlement remain, such as a cemetery, schoolhouse converted to a residence (Prestonville) or old general store being used as a party store (Davis).
Many have been remembered in other ways, such as Beebe St. Park in Richmond or Waldenburg and Macomb Corners Park in Macomb Township or Milton Meadows, a subdivision in Chesterfield Township. Fittingly, a cemetery is often the only remnant of an extinct community, such as Hart or Prestonville.
Stewart Taylor became the first postmaster of this rural post office in 1838. At that time called Vienna, it was renamed for Civil War general, George Gordon Meade, on Nov. 28, 1863 and operated until July 31, 1906. During the 1870s, it was also known locally as the Crawford Settlement. At one time near a small airport, as of 2005, Meade still enjoys a somewhat tenuous existence. There is still a party store (located in one of the oldest-surviving structures) as well as Meade Cemetery and a few street signs that still mark Meade. It was—and still is—located at 26 Mile Road between Romeo Plank and North Avenue.
This was a station on the Grand Trunk Railroad in Chesterfield Township. Located at roughly 24 Mile and Bates, near Gratiot, Milton had the first post office in Chesterfield Township, started by town namesake Robert O. Milton in 1837. The post office was in his house and was called the New Haven Post Office. This post office was moved closer to New Haven; with Alfred D. Rice establishing a new Milton post office thereafter. Milton also had a post office from Jan. 10, 1856 to July 15, 1904 with Edmund Matthews as the postmaster. Milton boasted a school, Baptist, Congregational and Methodist churches, a physician, blacksmith and a couple taverns.
This settlement was named for George Washington’s estate—a natural choice since the settlement was located in Washington Township. William A. Burt, a surveyor, became its first postmaster on Dec. 19, 1832. The post office was renamed Mountvernon on April 8, 1894 and operated until July 5, 1905. There was also a railroad station, and cemetery.
Its first postmaster, Mr. Burt, was an inventor (first American typewriter, 1828 and a solar compass in 1836), millwright, state legislator, justice of the peace, circuit court judge and writer. He also built an octagon house on 28 Mile Road. The site of his house, now in Stony Creek Metropark, is marked with an historic marker. Businesses in Mt. Vernon included a general store that also served as an inn, a blacksmith, a buggy store, a cooper, a re-weaving place, sawmills, and a greenhouse. There was also a school, churches (one with a cemetery which still exists).
Farming was the chief industry. Dennis Soule, a farmer, specialized in constructing windmills. The small community was ravaged by smallpox from late 1875 to early 1876. Mt. Vernon was located in Washington Township at Mt. Vernon and 28 Mile. The Capuchin Retreat Center is now located a half-mile north of 28 Mile.
This area that was absorbed by Richmond around 1990 is still listed on some road signs of the area. Located chiefly at the junction of U.S. 25 (Gratiot) and State Hwy. 19, Muttonville, since 1882 when it was founded, was predominantly a sheep raising area-hence the name. A sheep slaughterhouse was here, with most of the mutton, and wool and woolen goods going to Detroit.
Still the name of a street in Lenox Township, Omo had a post office from Oct. 16, 1897 with storekeeper Frank Will as the postmaster. The post office was closed on January 14, 1905. Omo was a Native American word for prosperity and the village was located a few miles north of New Haven and one mile northeast of North Ave. in Lenox Township at Omo and New Haven Roads. Omo was once a bustling community with a sawmill and general store.
Plumbrook or Plum Brook
Possessor of a rural post office near Plumb Brook Rd. from July 21, 1840 until July 6, 1863, the first postmaster of Plumbrook was John S. St. John. The community was located on Van Dyke and 17 Mile Road, now Sterling Heights. There is still a Plumbrook Golf Course.
In 1826, 400 acres of government land in Shelby Township was purchased by Ira and Deborah Preston of New York. They settled on the land in 1827 and built a sawmill (reputedly the first in Macomb County) and later a picket fence factory. The sawmill operated for forty years until the late 1870’s. There was also a Prestonville School. In 1881, the Prestonville School had an enrollment of 64 students. The school closed in 1954 and was converted to a private residence. Preston was located at 25 Mile and Schoenherr Rd. There is a Prestonville Cemetery in Shelby Township at 25 Mile in “Section 2.” A bronze plate was erected marking Preston Corners in 1926.
On Dec. 10, 1869 Theodore Kath became the first postmaster for this rural post office located in Clinton Township on Gratiot past 16 Mile. The post office operated until September 15, 1873. The organization of the 12th Michigan Infantry was begun under Col. Francis Quinn at Niles in Sept. 1861. The Quinns built a new brick house on Gratiot in 1881.
Located in the southern part of Ray Township, Ray Center’s post office was opened on February 13, 1846 and had Wilson W. Millar as the first postmaster. The post office closed briefly in 1872 and was then re-instated until 1906. The first land purchase in the area was made by Reuben R. Smith in 1824. First named Rhea, after the Latin name of a river in Europe, it was later changed to Ray, which is still the township name. Its location was at the intersection of 29 Mile, Hartway and Indian Trail Road on the north branch of the Clinton River. One of the main businesses was the Shafer Mill. It went into decline when the railroad passed it by, instead going by Armada and Romeo.
Red Run Corners
This rural Macomb County had a post office from July 22, 1857 until September 13, 1860 with Cynthia M. Cole as the first postmistress. It was located in Clinton Township, west of Garfield Rd. near 16 Mile Rd. (Metro Parkway), by the Red Run River. The Millar Cemetery is located near what was Red Run Corners. South across 16 Mile was a large summer park that had a dance hall and pavilion.
This was a village in Bruce Township, located north of Romeo. Settled by people of Scottish descent around 1830-31, a cemetery remains.
Named after Van Dyke Road (M-53), which was named for James A. Van Dyke in 1885 in Warren Township. Van Dyke was a former Detroit mayor. This village adjoined the north end of Detroit near Van Dyke and 9 Mile. Walter C. Piper platted it in 1917 and named its streets after then Michigan-made cars: Ford, Dodge, Packard, Cadillac, Hudson, etc. Merchant Christopher J. Bristow became its first postmaster on March 25, 1925. The post office operated until August 1, 1957 when the city was absorbed into Warren.
Waldenburg or Waldenburgh
This community around Romeo Plank and 22 Mile Road began with a sawmill. An influx of German settlers in the 1830s turned it into a farming community with a Lutheran church (still in existence on 21 Mile Road and Romeo Plank), school, tavern, wagon shop, general store, blacksmith, hardware store, and other businesses.
The cemetery behind Immanuel Lutheran Church on 21 Mile has many of the original settlers buried there. The settlement was named after Waldenburg, Germany. The Macomb post office was moved here on March 29, 1860 and lasted until September 15, 1906. The hardware store, Stier’s Hardware, is still in business. The building that Stier’s is located in was originally across the street from where it is now and served as a dance hall for the Waldenburg community.
It was moved in 1903. Next door to the hardware store is the Waldenburg Tavern. There was also a North Waldenburg and South Waldenburg, located, surprisingly enough, north and south of Waldenburg on Romeo Plank. North Waldenburg was located at 23 Mile Road and Romeo Plank, while South Waldenburg was located at Hall Road and Romeo Plank. South Waldenburg, also known as “Bobcean’s Corners,” was mainly known for its tavern, possibly located in the same building where “Goldie’s Saloon” is today. A park near 23 Mile and Romeo Plank has been named Waldenburg Park in honor of the settlement.
This community arose from the depot grounds (at one time frequented by Thomas Edison) of the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1862. It was platted by Leander Tromble and incorporated as a village but later absorbed by Mount Clemens. It was located in Clinton Township (now Mount Clemens) at Cass Avenue and North Rose Street, near the present railroad museum at the old Grand Trunk Railroad Station. It was named for Warsaw, Poland. Notable resident was the first Polish immigrant to Michigan, Ludwik Wesolowski, also the first Polish notary and first Pole to be an elected public official in the United States. He was an engineer who worked on the ill-fated Clinton-Kalamazoo Canal. His daughter married a man who discovered a huge Canadian oil field. Her daughter from this union is purported to have been the richest woman in the world at that time. She became the Countess Von Zeppelin of German royalty. The Von Zeppelins were the manufacturers and developers of lighter than air balloons.
Many communities were marked on maps but were often nothing more than “whistle stops,” in this case, stops on the Grand Trunk or the Interurban Railroad.
Some of these were:
This was the site of a small mill which burned down circa 1840. About 1855, brothers Neil and Hugh Gray founded Gray’s Mills on the site-later platted as a village. It was located at 31 Mile and Mt. Vernon Road and included an inn, mill, blacksmith, and boarded sidewalks! The one-room schoolhouse was converted into a home.
A train stop in Shelby Twp., sometimes called Depews Siding. It was located on 23 Mile, about a half-mile east of Dequindre.
A railroad stop located on Bordman Road near Cryderman Road, near Memphis, Michigan.
This settlement was platted and recorded on May 23, 1916 by Edward J. and Louise M. Hickey. Located on a point of land projecting into Lake St. Clair, in Lake Township, this area was absorbed by the village of St. Clair Shores in 1925.
This was a settlement that had a post office from January 10, 1856 until November 4, 1864. The postmaster was Daniel Shattuck. This was located in “Section 18” of Chesterfield Township.
This settlement, founded on July 22, 1851, was named for the 13th President of the United States, Millard Fillmore, who became president in 1850. Maybe if they had named it after a more well-known president, the community would have prospered more. The post office closed on March 17, 1859.
This settlement was laid out in 1837 at 21 Mile and Tilch and had 400 lots. These were platted along broad streets about a center marked “extensive salt spring.” However, there was no salt and no village developed. The area, marked by an influx of German settlers, was named for Frankfort, Germany.
A village that never was, in 1837 was platted and named Genoa by John N. Draper. Consisting of 192, 50 by 100 lots, it was conceived but never existed except on paper.
Harlow and Hog’s Hollow
These were early names for Utica, not an early fan club for Jean or a pork restaurant.
This settlement was located seven miles from Romeo and was named for James M. Hosner who became its first postmaster from February 3, 1899 until its demise on Dec. 31, 1900.
Located about 2.5 miles from Utica, this settlement had a post office from March 11, 1898 until Oct. 27, 1898 with Frank J. Schulz as the only postmaster.
This was a proposed community located in Harrison Township, on the L’Anse Creuse River and north of the Clinton River canal, a few miles southeast of Mt. Clemens. Backed by Pittsburgh businessmen, it was platted and was an interurban stop circa 1900.
Named for its British counterpart in the hopes it would become a port comparable to the original, Liverpool was platted in 1856 by Edward H. Shook. Located on L’Anse Creuse Bay in Harrison Township at roughly the intersection of Shook and Jefferson St., the community unfortunately never took off.
This was an early Macomb County site that was part of a farm located in Clinton Township at Gratiot by Joseph Hayes in 1819; the village was platted by Green Freeman in 1838. Although it had a sawmill, store, blacksmith shop, and a few homes, it did not prosper and died out by 1890.
This rural post office in the center of Ray Township opened on May 1, 1827 with Reuben R. Smith as the first postmaster. Not to be confused with the Ray Center post office, it operated until June 25, 1868.
This was a small village on the Richmond / Lenox Township border on the north side of 32 Mile Road along the railroad track; also called Lenox Station. It was incorporated into Richmond in 1879, the same time as Beebe’s Corners.
Named for Lemuel Sacket, who was the first postmaster, this rural area had a post office from March 27, 1833 until July 3, 1856.
This was a small community with a post office in Armada Township from February 1832 until March 18, 1842. Leonard Lee was the first postmaster.
The first postmaster of this rural community was Urial Day. The post office operated from March 19, 1852 until April 27, 1859. This area was located in Armada Township, Section 7.
This community was basically a stop on the Detroit & Bay City Railroad in 1878. It was located on the border between Warren and Sterling Townships on 14 Mile Road between Mound and Van Dyke.
To view Part One of this two-part column, click here.
Check out Alan Naldrett’s Arcadia Images of America book on Chesterfield Township. If you buy your copy at the Chesterfield Public Library, Preston Automotive, or Tom’s Party Store, your donation will benefit the Chesterfield Twp. Historical Society. The book is also available in the usual venues including Barnes and Noble bookstores and at Amazon.com.