Fayette Historic State Park, Michigan - 2008 . . .
on our route to the Pacific Northwest

Updated: 11/30/08


Fayette Historic State Park is located in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. We have driven by on Route 2 many times but never drove down Route 183 on the Garden Peninsula. This time, the town site of Fayette was our first stop on our trip to the Pacific Northwest.

The town of Fayette was named after Fayette Brown, the Jackson Iron company agent who chose the site. The industrial community manufactured charcoal pig iron between 1867 and 1891. Nearly 500 residents lived in or near the town - many emigrating from Canada, the British Isles and northern Europe.

During it's 24 years of operation, Fayette's blast furnaces produced a total of 229,299 tons of iron, using local hardwood forests for fuel and quarrying limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore. When the charcoal iron market began to decline the Jackson Iron Company closed it's Fayette smelting operations.


The visitors center presented an audio tape with overhead lights highlighting the location on the diorama being talked about. It was a very detailed diorama including the glowing furnace.


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On our way down the path to the Town of Fayette, we could see some buildings through the trees.


a f0730 fayette tree view_112_1.JPG (54927 bytes)   a f0730 fayette tree view_113_1.JPG (62114 bytes)



Immediately to our right as we entered the town was the Furnace Complex . That was our first stop.





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The Fayette smelting operation closed in 1891.




Next to the Furnace Complex was this Charcoal Kiln area - a  reconstructed one and what was left of an original kiln.


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Snail Shell Harbor viewed from the Furnace Complex . . .


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a f0730 fayette supts house_137_1.JPG (50023 bytes)a f0730 fayette bay from window_162_1.JPG (52229 bytes)Across Snail Shell Harbor from the Furnace Complex the Superintendent's House looked impressive. He had a good view of the harbor and the operations on the opposite shore.

      a f0730 fayette supt house_157_1.JPG (58098 bytes)      a f0730 fayette mourn_158_1.JPG (44664 bytes)

Seldom do you see a room in a home set up in mourning.



a f0730 coat hooks_258_1.JPG (23266 bytes)  We liked the coat hooks just inside the front door.







a f0730 fayette boxes_161_1.JPG (33158 bytes)Because the house contained a limited amount of furniture, it was set up like it was in preparation for moving day. Moving crates were in several rooms.






a f0730 fayette grain elev site_154_1.JPG (64743 bytes)At the peak of its activity, the harbor's shore was lined with a continuous dock.

This location is where the grain elevator was located. In addition to shipments of 229,288 tons of iron , grain was its second largest export.

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a f0730 fayette crew_175_1.jpg (57106 bytes)This photograph of the work crew was in the children's display. That is why the children are superimposed on the photograph.






This photograph shows Stewart Street . . .


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Many of the buildings are restored to good condition and demonstrate the lifestyle of the time.


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Machine Shop                             Office                                           Doctor's House



The hotel provided lodging for travelers, single employees and visiting company officials  . . .

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. . . the hotel had a unique second floor outhouse. 

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a f0730 fayette co store_147_1.JPG (41220 bytes)a f0730 fayette co store_140_1.JPG (60865 bytes)The Company Store was a strongly built building. The openings in the walls supported the beams for the second floor. 







a f0730 fayette town hall_143_1.JPG (49720 bytes)The first floor housed a meat market, barber shop and doctor's office. a f0730 fayette town hall_141_1.JPG (39877 bytes)

The Music Hall is on the second floor of the Town Hall.

Many performers signed the wall behind the stage.

We understand that some community dances were held there also.


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Foundations are all that remain of some buildings.   


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Park staff reconstructed one of the Laborers' cabins. In the summer when the temperatures were high, the stove was moved from the house to the lean-to.


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a f0730 fayette camp shore_196_1.JPG (52445 bytes)From the laborers' cabin we could see what we thought should be the shore by the campground.






After we returned to camp, we walked down to the shore. We had heard the water crashing against the shore from camp but did not know how close it was. We could see Fayette from the shore.


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   a f0730 fayette_100_1.JPG (74108 bytes)Mary Lou carried her own chair to the shore.







We enjoyed our visit to Fayette. Wear comfortable footwear due to the amount of walking. Allow two and a half hours to see all that is offered.


There is no fee for admission other than the state park entrance fee.



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