The Abandoned Frankfort Iron Works: Elberta, Michigan
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
One of the coolest abandoned structures in Michigan is the Frankfort Iron Works in Elberta. There’s not much left of it, but enough to peak your curiosity.
The business was established in 1867 and began operating when their large blast furnace was built. And it wasn’t just any old blast furnace…it was big enough to give Elberta bragging rights to having the biggest, “most extensive manufacturing works” in all of Benzie County.
Yes, the works WAS huge. It contained not just the blast furnace, but a boiler arid engine, stone & ore crusher, platform, and casting house. It was in this casting house where the first iron was produced, which took place on July 1, 1870.
Frankfort Iron Works laid the first railroad through town in 1870 which transported wood to the furnace. Hard to imagine these days, but the original track rails were made of wood before they were replaced by iron. How long were they expected to last, thanks to weather conditions and splitting?
Unfortunately, the Frankfort Iron Works shut down in 1883 and the property was sold to the railroad. The railroad used the grounds for a roundhouse, machine shop, switches, and depot.
Fast forward to the 2000s where the old ruins still stand gloriously in a grove of trees but still in plain sight for everyone to gawk at. It looks out over Elberta’s Waterfront Park on the shore of Betsie Lake.
The gallery below has a few good shots around and over the ruins so you can get a good look…otherwise, what’s preventing you from paying a visit someday?
Abandoned Frankfort Iron Works, Elberta
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