Fayette Historic State Park, Garden

5.0
#6 of 18 in Historic Sites in Upper Peninsula
Fayette Historic State Park is the state park of the historic town of Fayette in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located on the Big Bay de Noc of Lake Michigan in between Snail Shell Harbor and Sand Bay, on the southern side of the Upper Peninsula, about 17 miles south of US 2. Fayette was the site of an industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron between 1867 and 1891. The town has been reconstructed into a living museum showing what life was like in this town in the late 19th century.HistoryFayette was once one of the Upper Peninsula's most productive iron-smelting operations. Fayette grew up around two blast furnaces, a large dock, and several charcoal kilns, following the post-Civil War need for iron. Nearly 500 residents—many immigrating from Canada, the British Isles, and northern Europe—lived in and near the town that existed to make pig iron. During 24 years of operation Fayette's blast furnaces produced a total of 229,288 tons of iron, using local hardwood forests for fuel and quarrying limestone from the bluffs to purify the iron ore. When the charcoal iron market began to decline, the Jackson Iron Company closed its Fayette smelting operations in 1891. Another event leading to the demise of the Jackson Iron Company was the use of the hardwoods and limestone to purify the iron, leading to the exhaustion of hardwoods in the area. This was the main source for purifying the iron and therefore led to the decline of the Jackson Iron Company. After shutting down operations, many residents left Fayette in search of employment elsewhere, though some chose to stay nearby and used the land for farming.
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  • Fayette Historic State Park is a wonderful piece of Michigan history that has been saved for us. We went on a beautiful summer day in June and spent plenty of time wandering around this historic park ...  more »
  • We had been to Fayette about 30 years and were very surprised to see the tremendous amount of restoration that has occurred over that time period. We were there during the off-season but buildings wer...  more »
  • This is one of the most picturesque places in Michigan, and are we ever happy we stopped. It's off the beaten path by 20 minutes. The story is presented well and is fascinating, a quick blip on the hi...  more »

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