The Ghost Town of Alabaster, Michigan
Now here's a ghost town what IS a ghost town. It's Alabaster, in Iosco County.
According to usgalabaster.com, it was indeed named after the gypsum (alabaster) rock which was discovered in 1837 and began being bored out in 1841. The site was immediately named 'Alabaster', even before the Township of the same name. In 1861 the first gypsum mine opened. By the time the township was formed in 1866, literally thousands of tons of gypsum had been excavated and shipped.
Even though excavation had been going on thru the rest of the 1840s and 1850s, it wasn't until 1863 when someone finally set down their roots and settled in Alabaster. That man was Benjamin Smith, who went on to become the town's first postmaster when the P.O. began operating in 1864.
1870: 23,000 tons of gypsum mined annually.
1880: Population, 300.
1880: The town had a general store, two hotels, and a plaster works.
1891: Fire destroyed the mining enterprise.
1902: Part of the U.S. Gypsum Company.
1905: Population peaked at 600.
1920: Population 400.
1962: The post office closed for good.
Alabaster also had three churches (Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist), three fisheries, a sawmill, and wagon maker. It was also a stagecoach station with transports to nearby Standish on a daily basis.
Since the post office shut down, the town seemed to quietly melt away. Stores were gone. Homes vanished. Now all that's left of old Alabaster are the remains of the gypsum loading dock and empty neighborhoods, as you'll see in the photos below. Since then, other homes and even a little 'mall' have popped up in the surrounding areas, giving some life to the township. Also in the photo gallery are a few images of what the actual town looked like before it all evaporated away, and even a 1940s photo of the 'over-water bucket line' before it was removed...
The Ghost Town of Alabaster
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