Lumbering was the first major industry in Midland County, and Edenville’s location on the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers made it a prime location. Wright and Ketcham was the major lumbering company by 1880, although lumbermen including Timothy Jerome were major developers in the area as early as 1851. He built the first sawmill about one mile above what would become the village of Edenville.
Early in Edenville’s history, the village was known as Camp 16 or sometimes just Sixteen, a reference to its location north during the ordinance survey. Along with Red Keg near Averill, Camp 16 would become one of the most notorious lumber camps in the state, with local saloons and hotels the sites of brawls and carousing for over 40 years during the river drives.
From 1860-1897, 27 billion feet of white pine were cut in the area. From 1860-1884, nearly 50 million feet of logs were floated down the river annually.
Edenville was a thriving village during this time, at the height of the lumbering era. Three hotels, a blacksmith, two groceries, lumberman’s supply stores all lined the river bank along with sawmills and lumber camp buildings. The township was established by the County Board of Supervisors in 1873 and village was platted in 1878 by Henry Church.
Author: Catherine Sias
Originally Posted: May 29, 2017
Berriman, Stan. Upper Tittabawassee River Boom Towns. Midland, MI: BBS Printing, Inc., 1971.
Dodge, R. L. Michigan Ghost Towns of the Lower Peninsula (Formerly Michigan Ghost Towns I & II). Las Vegas: Glendon Publishing, 1971.
Gransden, Galen. “A Little History of Edenville Township.” Edenville, Michigan: Edenville Township. Web. Accessed 2014 June 16. http://www.edenvilletwp.org/history.htm
Gray, Hilah. “Interesting Pioneer Story From Edenville Township: Written by First White Girl Born in That Section of Midland County.” Midland, Michigan newspaper, May 22, 1924