MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: Prattville, in Hillsdale County
The village of Prattville (in Hillsdale County, Wright Township) had its beginnings in 1866, when brothers Henry and Wellington Pratt arrived from Farmingham, Massachusetts.
The area’s post office was named ‘Cass’, originating in 1848. It was moved in 1867 to the village, and, with the success of the Pratt Brothers, the post office & town were re-named ‘Prattville’ in 1872.
Aside from the post office, just one other building stood on the four corners of Prattville: a one-room schoolhouse that was constructed in 1872. A church was added in 1874 and the population kept growing.
Henry and Wellington immediately got busy and started setting up businesses by opening a store across the road from the school. In the next few years, they expanded by building a sawmill and a gristmill. The Pratts were very successful in their endeavors…so much so, that by the 1890’s, Henry ended up owning land that was twice the size of the whole town.
Lime Lake was just a tad northeast of Prattville, and it was here where baptisms took place during the warm summer months. The lake also came in handy during the winter, as it provided the community with the ice they needed.
Prattville had a 6,000 bushel elevator and was also a station stop on the Cincinnati Northern Railroad. The town was known for being able to supply three double deck stock cars with water & feed and a place to determine weight. This service was discontinued in the 1940's, and the town became used as a railway meeting point.
Today, many cool old buildings still dot the village area. Prattville is one of those rarely talked-about Michigan small towns that would be a terrific drive-thru on your Michigan roadtrip!