MICHIGAN HISTORY: The Ghost & Shadow Towns of Buel Township
If you visit Sanilac County sometime, you may wanna visit the town of Buel, once called the Buel P.O., found in Buel Township, south of the former community of Buel Centre.
Yes, it can get confusing if you’re looking for just plain ‘Buel.’
Buel Township was founded in the mid-1800’s and named after one the area’s original settlers. This was followed by a community settled in 1852 by Ezra Van Camp. A post office went into operation in 1856 with James McGrath as the first postmaster and the community was named ‘Buel P.O.’. Van Camp took over the P.O. duties in 1860, followed by James Van Camp in 1865. The P.O. shut down in 1871, re-opened in 1877, then closed again in 1901.
Just two miles north of Buel P.O., in the center of the township, was the aptly named Buel Centre, corner of Hall Rd. & Kilgore Rd…and a couple of hundred feet north of that is the former community of Hicks. Hicks was simply another postal station, operating from 1893 to 1895. It was named after a local farmer, George Hicks, who also became the first – and probably only – postmaster. If you look closely, there’s an old one-room schoolhouse still standing a ways back off the road.
A little further north and to the west is another old post office station named Aitken. All that’s left of Aitken is a cool old one-room schoolhouse, near the corner of Aitken Rd and Brown Rd.
Traveling back down to Buel, you’ll find an historic old church with its own Historical Marker. It reads: “This handsome building was the first church erected in Buel Township. Known as the Buel United Methodist Church, it was dedicated on December 3, 1882. The founding trustees were Robert Jolley, David Chewings, Halver Hulverson, Nicholas Van Natter, Frank Chambers, James Van Camp, and Isaac Horton. The 1910 addition of the Gothic-style stained glass windows gave the church its present appearance. It received its current name in 1968.” This church is found on Peck Road near the Buel Hill Estates.
Now, if you take Peck Road and head west out of town, you’ll find another old one-room schoolhouse, now converted as the Potter’s House New Hope Church.
Guaranteed, there’s plenty of cool stuff to see in Buel Township…check out the photos below. Then take a roadtrip through there soon, down some backroads and dirt roads, and see for yourself! Great photo ops for Michigan historians!