Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Fayette Historic State Park
A good port, limestone cliffs, and a seemingly endless supply of trees for the charcoal kilns made Fayette an ideal location for smelting pig iron. Iron ore from Upper Peninsula mines was shipped by rail to Fayette. After the completion of the smelting process, bars of pig iron were loaded onto barges to continue their journey to steel-making centers on the shores of the Great Lakes.
At its peak nearly 500 people lived in Fayette. The blast furnaces operated from 1867 and 1891 and produced 229,288 tons of iron. When the furnaces were shut down, the population dwindled and the town became a resort and fishing village. Escanaba Paper Company purchased the land which they then traded for timberland leading to the establishment of Fayette Historic State Park. The park includes a visitor center, restored buildings with interpretive displays, hiking trails, and a campground.
The main parking lot is on a hill above the visitor center and the town with access by steps and a steep, paved path. An accessible lot is located near the campground - map. The road to the lot is dirt and narrow. The parking lot is small so it’s not suitable for RVs larger than 25’. Due to the steep path going up to the visitor center I recommend skipping it. The only display is a large diorama of the town as it looked during the smelting era. The gravel paths through the main part of town are fairly level and mostly accessible. The road to the furnace complex is a bit rough and up a hill. Five of the buildings have ramps. We did not visit the campground.
The main parking lot has plenty of room for RVs. Park