Williams, Michigan: Kalamazoo County Ghost Town
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Small towns on the K&SH Railroad near Williams, Michigan

 
 
 

Alamo (also known as Alamo Center)

One railroad depot east of Williams is Alamo, the center of Alamo Township.

Unlike Williams, the town of Alamo existed prior to the railroad. The center of town is located at the intersection of "D" Avenue and 6th St.

Alamo is home to the Alamo Township Museum, which is an excellent source for local area history.

A great source of written Alamo history and photos is "Alamo Township - Past and Present" by Florence Finkey. This book can be purchased at the Alamo Township Museum.

Current businesses near Alamo include the Alamo Depot Antique store, the Kalamazoo Speedway and the Timber Ridge ski resort.

 
 
 

This is a postcard of the Alamo depot (date?). For more photos of the depot, click here.

  Alamo depot photo

 
 

This photo is of the Fred Wilson general store in downtown Alamo (date?).

  Fred Wilson store photo

 
 

This photo shows the same general store later on the right (now selling Sinclair gasoline), and the IGA store and school across the street. (date?)

  Fred Wilson store photo

 
 

Another photo of the same store, this one showing the Congregational church (date?).

  Store and church photo

 
 

This undated photo is of the Congregational church and a school house(?).

  Church photo

 
 

This photo is of the Alamo school (date: probably about 1910).

  School photo

 
 

 
 

Mentha

One railroad depot west of Williams is Mentha, which is in Van Buren County.

The town once thrived as a result of an ambitious peppermint grower, Albert M.Todd.

Todd's initial peppermint operation achieved a reputation for high quality, and in 1891 he moved his operations to Kalamazoo.

From his new headquarters, Todd improved Michigan mint husbandry by establishing two local commercial experimental farms, one was located in Mentha.

On these plantations Todd promoted research to develop hybrid mint plants and improvements to agricultural techniques. He and his staff made significant advances in distillation technology.

By the turn of the century Todd was the largest producer of peppermint oil in the world and owner of the world's most extensive mint acreage. At this time, 90 percent of the world's supply of mint oil came from an area within a ninety-mile radius of Kalamazoo.

Mentha is featured in the book, "Ghost Towns of Michigan, Vol. 3" by Larry Wakefield. Wakefield describes what caused the once-thriving community to decline to the status of ghost town.

Some remnants of the town still exist and can be seen from the Kal-Haven Trail.

The A.M. Todd company still exists at 1717 Douglas Ave., Kalamazoo, MI, USA 50711.

Their website address is  www.amtodd.com

An excellent source for more information on A.M. Todd is the local history page of the Kalamazoo Public Library website.



Here's a photo of what Mentha looked like (prob. 1905-1910).

  Mentha photo

 
 
 
 

If you have anything you'd like to see added to this webpage, please contact me (Tom) at: williamsmichigan @ earthlink.net.  Questions and comments are also welcome!

This website was last updated on 20 Sep 05.