Sturgeon Bay, Michigan
Sturgeon Bay was a small lumbering community the U.S. state of Michigan, located in Bliss Township on the southern border of what is now Wilderness State Park in the northwest of Emmet County, Michigan. Almost nothing remains of Sturgeon Bay. It was located on the south shore of Sturgeon Bay, just west of where Sturgeon Bay Trail and M-119 intersect. The first mill was founded by Alfred B. Klise in 1895 and a small town sprung up around said mill. It was a large scale operation that deemed a logging railway necessary. A railroad, Sturgeon Bay Railway, was built from the shore of Lake Michigan east about 14 miles within two miles of Levering, Michigan. The railroad was standard gauge and was known to operate at least two Shay locomotive; #3, SN 1984, built by the Lima Locomotive Works in 1907, the same year the railroad was built, and #1, SN 155, also built my Lima Locomotive works in 1886. The inventor of the Shay Locomotive, Ephraim Shay, was a local in the area living in Harbor Springs, about 20 miles to the south. They were also known to have operated a Heisler logging locomotive(#2). The only visible remnant of the railroad grade is one quarter mile east of the Sturgeon Bay Trail and M-119 intersection. The grade was used for the power lines from this point out to Lake Michigan, but the trail runs cold after that as the forest has reclaimed any and all traces of the rail line. The grade was still included on State surveyor maps as late as 1957.
The town once boasted a saw mill, blacksmith shop, small general store, and a boarding house in addition to the post office. The exact date the mill closed is unknown, but it occurred sometime in 1913. Whether it was intentionally dismantled or was simply swept away by time is a not known. Only a handful of known photographs of the town survive to this day. The date the railroad was pulled is also unknown but it was likely before 1920. A few dock pilings are still visible from the air, but most of the town was reclaimed by the sand dunes on which it was built.
Alfred Klise was the Mayor of the village of Cross Village, Michigan when the fire that destroyed much of the village took place on September 27, 1918. Sturgeon Bay, now an abandoned logging village, and still under the ownership of the mayor, was offered to many of the 300 homeless people to use as shelter.
The beach in which this town was located is now home to the endangered Piping Plover, with many sections of the shoreline roped off to protect its nesting site.