Skip to main content

Great Lakes Road Trip Day 5 Part 1; M-123 Tahquamenon Falls and ghost towns in the UP

My ultimate destination for the day was the Keweenaw Peninsula but started out with a detour to Tahquamenon Falls State Park via M-123.  M-123 is another on of Michigan's odd highways that changes cardinal directions in the middle of the route much like M-22 does in the Lower Peninsula.  M-123 is approximately 96 miles in length if you travel from I-75 to M-28 in Newberry.  It was foggy morning when I got out on the road, the Tahquamenon Falls were 67 miles to the north.








Before big trips like this I always check the maps to see what I can find that might interest me.  At the corner of M-123 and County Route H57 is the community of Allenville which essentially is a ghost town.  I couldn't find much on Allenville other than it was founded on the Detroit, Mackinac, and Marquette Railroad in the 1870s.  Supposedly a fire almost took out Allenville before the turn of the 20th century and there isn't much left today aside from some long abandoned buildings.



Likewise to the north on M-123 there is another ghost town called Ozark at the junction with Ozark Road.  Much like Allenville to the south Ozark was a railroad town built in the 1870s for the Detroit, Mackinac, and Marquette Railroad.  Apparently the population in Ozark peaked out before World War II but it was almost entirely abandoned by the 1960s.  All that I could find was an old school house building.









At Trout Lake Road M-123 picks up County Route H40 which multiplexes it north to Trout Lake.  H40 continues west while M-123 keeps going north towards Lake Superior.  My understanding is that M-123/H40 is the one of few County Route multiplexes on a State Trunkline.





M-123 crosses M-28 twice, the first is northbound towards Lake Superior and the other is at the terminus in Newberry.  My photo was blurred which didn't get a good picture of the shields but the junction appeared just fine.





M-123 passes through the community of Eckerman before approaching Lake Superior at the mouth of the Tahquamenon River as it empties in to Tahquamenon Bay.  The bay and Tahquamenon River are actually part of Tahqueamenon Falls State Park.






In Paradise M-123 switches to a primarily east/west highway approaching the Tahquamenon Falls, this is indicated by a lack of a directional placard.








I stopped by the lower Tahquamenon Falls first.  Oddly there was no pay envelopes available at the park entrance due to campers stuffing the box they usually would be in with camping stubs.  I was able to get a hold of someone at the office desk and got the okay to pay on the way out.









The real highlight is four miles to the west with the upper Tahquamenon Falls which are the third largest east of the Mississippi River.  The upper falls are about 200 feet wide and have a drop of 48 feet.  I neglected to mention this previously but the Tahquamenon River is 89 miles in length and primarily flows easterly into Lake Superior.









West of upper Tahquamenon Falls M-123 becomes a southerly route approaching Newberry and obtains a "south" directional placard.





Newberry is the only incorporated place in Luce County and is the terminus of M-123 at M-28.  Newberry has some interesting older structures like the McMillan Township Hall building.  I took a turn on M-28 and began the westward trip to Houghton in the Keweenaw Peninsula.












Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Niagara Falls

  Arguably the world's most famous waterfall, or rather a set of waterfalls, Niagara Falls may not need much of an introduction, as it is a very popular tourist attraction in both New York State and the Province of Ontario, a destination of plenty of honeymooning couples, vacationing families and college students out for a good time for a weekend. Niagara Falls is also the site of many daredevil activities over the years, such as tightrope walking and going over the falls in a barrel. It is always nice to have a bit of a refresher, of course. Niagara Falls is made up of two main waterfalls, American Falls (also known as Rainbow Falls), which is on the American side of the border and Horseshoe Falls (also known as Canadian Falls), where the border between the United States and Canada crosses. There is also a smaller waterfall on the New York side of the border, which is Bridal Veil Falls. The height of the waterfalls are impressive, with Horseshoe Falls measuring at

The Smithtown Bull in Smithtown, New York

  Before I moved to Upstate New York as a young man, I grew up in the Long Island town of Smithtown during the 1980s and 1990s. The recognizable symbol of Smithtown is a bronze statue of a bull named Whisper, located at the junction of NY Route 25 and NY Route 25A near the bridge over the Nissequogue River. Why a bull, you may ask. The bull is a symbol of a legend related to the town's founding in 1665 by Richard "Bull" Smythe, with a modernized name of Richard Smith. It also so happens that there is a story behind the legend, one that involves ancient land right transfers and some modern day roads as well. So the story goes that Smythe made an agreement with a local Indian tribe where Smythe could keep whatever land he circled around in a day's time riding atop his trusty bull. Choosing the longest day of the year for his ride, he set out with his bull Whisper and went about riding around the borders of the Town of Smithtown. As legend has it, Smythe t

Route 75 Tunnel - Ironton, Ohio

In the Ohio River community of Ironton, Ohio, there is a former road tunnel that has a haunted legend to it. This tunnel was formerly numbered OH 75 (hence the name Route 75 Tunnel), which was renumbered as OH 93 due to I-75 being built in the state. Built in 1866, it is 165 feet long and once served as the northern entrance into Ironton, originally for horses and buggies and later for cars. As the tunnel predated the motor vehicle era, it was too narrow for cars to be traveling in both directions. But once US 52 was built in the area, OH 93 was realigned to go around the tunnel instead of through the tunnel, so the tunnel was closed to traffic in 1960. The legend of the haunted tunnel states that since there were so many accidents that took place inside the tunnel's narrow walls, the tunnel was cursed. The haunted legend states that there was an accident between a tanker truck and a school bus coming home after a high school football game on a cold, foggy Halloween night in 1