MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: North Bradley, Midland County
North Bradley is a village found in Midland County’s Geneva Township.
Some sources call this a ‘ghost town’ but I don’t believe it is…I do feel that it’s a ‘shadow town’, meaning it’s a shadow of its former self.
One of North Bradley’s first settlers was William R. Button, who set up the first sawmill and began lumbering. Thanks to his success, the community was dubbed “Button” or “Buttonville” in his honor.
In 1873, the post office opened with William A. Babcock as first postmaster. He became the township supervisor in 1879.
Thanks to Wm. Button’s success with the lumber business, the population had risen to 250 by 1877. The town had also become a station stop on the Flint & Pere Marquette railroad.
By the 1880’s, the town had a blacksmith, Methodist church, depot, two general stores, hardware store, hotel, meat market, post office, real estate office, saloon, and shingle mill…and the population had risen to a whopping 500.
Then, as with other lumber towns, the timber depleted, the railroad stopped coming through, and by 1918 North Bradley’s population was down to 140.
To make things worse, the ‘new’ US10 was built in 1960, bypassing the town.
To visit North Bradley, you have to look down Old US10, just a few feet south of the ‘new’ US10. There, you’ll find remnants of the old town, including the church and some homes - some old, some more recent.
Now that you know a little bit about it, take a drive-thru…plus, there’s a party store where you can load up on roadtrip food!