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Colloquial Names


ABOVE PHOTO: A drive down Merritt's Hill


One of the challenges of scanning photos is figuring out where they were taken. Some are easy. If it is a photo of the Library, I know that is at First and Maple Street.


But when the notes with the photo says it was taken at Merritt’s Hill, Newland, Maue’s Corners, Fowler Drain, Hoppers Junction, Deer Range Hills, Hommer, Henry, Brooklin, or Werles Corners it is a bit more of a challenge.


Each of those were common place names in Manistee County in their day. Most have fallen to disuse. Few people even know where many of these are anymore. But somebody – long ago – made a note indicating a photo was taken at Werles Corners. So the task is to figure out where all these places are.


One of the things I do, while scanning photos is keep a Manistee County Road Commission map (still the most detailed and best map of the county you can get) on which I write colloquial names as I figure out where they are. It is fun. I enjoy the puzzle. Also it is a good thing I write small, as even with that large map space gets tight. There were a lot more geographic features with names back then when people walked and did not move around as much. My map has hundreds of names written in.


Since, hopefully, I’ve sparked your curiosity here is where these are:

  • Brooklyn: This is a neighborhood in the Village of Eastlake. It was down the hill near where Brickyard Road and Main Street intersect.

  • Deer Range Hills: Today we call them the Marilla Hills. The name Deer Range likely did not apply to all of the Marilla Hills, but rather a small part near the center of the hills in east Dickson Township.

  • Fowler Drain: Well, I do not know. Have not found this location yet. But we have a lot of 1950 photos saying it is a picture of it. I suspect it is along the Lake Michigan shore, maybe in Manistee Township. But which little creek.

  • Henry: This was a railroad stop in Springdale Township. It is along Henry Road. It was where the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad and the Arcadia and Betsie Valley met.

  • Hoppers Junction: This is in east Stronach Township, where the Manistee and Luther Railroad came near the Little Manistee River. Nine Mile Bridge Road follows this old railroad grade and Hoppers Junction is about a half mile west of today’s Nine Mile Bridge.

  • Hommer: Along Glovers Lake Road, right on the township line between Springdale and Pleasanton Townships.

  • Maue’s Corners: Where Chippewa Highway (U.S.-31) and Eight Mile Roads intersect. Named for a farm family that used to live there.

  • Merritt’s Hill: On Chippewa Highway (U.S.-31) as you go up the hill (between Blacker Airport and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians casino) – it is that hill.

  • Newland: Where the Manistee and Northeastern Railroad crossed Orchard Highway (M-22). There used to be a store there with the same name. The building for the store still stands.

  • Werles Corners: Near Peirport. It is where Thirteen Mile Road and Orchard Highway (M-22) intersect. Per-Clin Orchards is at that location today.

How many did you know of? Anyone know where Fowler Drain is?

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