The Mason County Quiz, March 14, 2024: Answers

The Mason County Quiz is presented by Lake Michigan Senior Living, located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan in beautiful Summit Township.

How much do you know about Mason County?

1. Several of Ludington’s city streets were named after:

a. Celebrities

b. Pioneers

c. Family of James Ludington

d. Past post masters

C. In 1873, after residents of the village of Pere Marquette voted to incorporate the town into a city and call it Ludington, after prominent lumber baron James Ludington, one of the first tasks was to plat the city and name its streets. Foster and Ludington chose to name the majority of the north-south streets of the city, at the time, in honor of Ludington’s father, siblings and cousins.

James Jensen, president of the Mason County Historical Society, published an article in the historical society’s weekly newsletter about the street naming process.

The first north-south street in town, at that time, was Main Street, which is now Gaylord Avenue. A block to the east, he named the street in honor of his father, Lewis Ludington (1786-1857). Next, were streets named after James Ludington’s brothers: William Edgar Ludington (1818-1838), Robert Ludington (1822-1860), and Charles Ludington (1825-1910). Charles Street was renamed Rath Avenue in honor of lumberman William Rath. The next street was named after James himself.

Ludington (1827-1891) and Foster (1827-1876) then named the streets after James’s cousins. Harrison Ludington (1812-1891), Harley Rowe Ludington (1794-1871) and George Washington Ludington (1814-1874). According to Jensen’s article, when James Ludington and Luther Foster laid out the streets, the southern terminus of both Harrison and Rowe streets was Danaher Street. Southbound traffic on both streets shifted a half block and, combined, would continue toward Pere Marquette Lake on George Street, which is three blocks. Remember, at that time, the shores of Pere Marquette Lake were full of lumber mills.

James Ludington’s sisters were honored with the eastern-most streets at the time. They included Delia Ludington (1816-1891), Lavinia Elizabeth Ludington (1829-1910), Emily Ludington Tull (1832-1917), Amelia Ludington Angell (1836-1870), and Laura Ann Ludington Hustis (1814-1900).

Jensen wrote that the last two sisters’ namesake streets are partially based on speculation. Early maps of Ludington indicate that much of modern Washington Avenue was named Amelia Street. Laura Street runs parallel to, and one block south of Dowland Street. While this is not a north-south street, it’s very likely that it was named after Laura, the oldest sibling. Since that street is closest to the Pere Marquette Lake waterfront, this would make sense.

2. Where is Elmton located?

a. Amber Township

b. Logan Township

c. Sherman Township

d. Meade Township

D. Elmton was a small settlement located on modern on the north side Free Soil Road just west of Larson Road, across from the Meade Township Hall. To call it a town (or now a ghost town) is a stretch. Elmton basically consisted of an old train car that served as a depot for the Manistee & Grand Rapids Railroad (later known as the Michigan East & West Railroad). The railroad began near downtown Manistee and entered Mason County near the intersection of Countyline and Marsh roads in Free Soil Township. It then traveled in southeastern direction to the town of Millerton, then traveled east into Lake County, eventually ending in Tustin in Osceola County. More about the M&GR will be posted in the near future on MCP.

The 1904 Standard Atlas of Mason County, Michigan (plat book) shows that land owned by Henry (1846-1926) and Jane (Doyle, 1848-1919) Howell. The Howells owned 160 acres of land. Their house, according to the plat book, was the only residence within a mile of the depot.

A school, Meade Township District No. 2, The New School, was located on the Howell property’s southwestern border, at the modern northeast intersection of Free Soil and Budzynski roads. That school closed in 1919 and was annexed with the newly built Meade Township District No. 1, the Howell School, located also on the north side of Free Soil Road, a mile east near Larson Road. The Howell school closed in 1941.

In 1904, the land across the street from Elmton depot, which is now the Meade Township Hall, was owned by lumber baron Warren Cartier, as was much of the land in that area.

The origins of the name Elmton are not clear. However, the name was used by residents in that area for several years after the railroad was abandoned in the early 1920s.

Lake Michigan Senior Living, 4895 S. Lakeshore Dr. in Summit Township, offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, activities and exceptional care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility consists of four housing units on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. For more information, call 231-843-9963 or go to www.lakemiseniorliving.com.

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