When I hear the term "boarding house" I usually think of the old TV and movie westerns where they have to put up a kid or lady in a place to sleep. The cowboys always got to sleep in the livery stables, brothel, or a seedy hotel...but for women and kids, it was the 'boarding house'.

Like me, many people think of a boarding house in that particular way, even though it wasn't just a western thing...boarding houses were all over the place - worldwide, not just in our country.

Boarding houses were a necessity when the lumberjacks and miners needed a place to stay while employed. Buying a house wasn't in the cards, as they knew their stay wouldn't be permanent.

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Most folks put up in a boarding house for one night, but others stayed for weeks, months, and sometimes years. Many homes became boarding houses as a way to make some extra cash and to help those in need of a place to stay.

Bathrooms? You had to share ONE.
Dining was done at one table, with all tenants eating together.
I guess you could say this was a precursor to today's Bed & Breakfasts.

The boarding house boom started in the 1800s and quietly died down by the 1950s...from then on, motels, hotels, inns, and Bed and Breakfasts took over in popularity.

Many B&Bs in northern Michigan can give you an experience that closely resembles what these old boarding houses were like. Take a look at the gallery below, featuring thirty photos of some of Michigan's vintage boarding houses!

Vintage Michigan Boarding Houses


Michigan Ghost Town Gallery

Vintage Paper Boys and Newspaper Offices

Michigan Cobblers

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