Fayette Historic Town Site
Established in 1867 by the Jackson Iron Company, this once busy industrial town operated a profitable blast furnace operation to smelt raw iron ore and produce pig iron. Fayette Brown, company agent and the town’s namesake chose this location for its abundant natural resources including hardwoods as fuel for the furnace operation and limestone to purify iron ore during the smelting process, while Snail Shell Harbor provided safe anchorage for company vessels.
A decline in the charcoal iron market coupled with a depletion of the company’s fuel supply brought an end to Fayette’s smelting operation in 1891. In 1916, the company sold Fayette to Fred VanRemortel who ran the town as a successful summer resort until the 1940s. The State of Michigan acquired Fayette in 1959 and the site became Fayette State Park. Since then, stabilization and restoration efforts have been ongoing.
Today, Fayette is a museum village that includes a modern visitor center, 20 historic structures, exhibits and walking tours to interpret the town’s 19th century industrial past. Guided tours of the historic town site are offered mid-June through mid- August. Other park activities include five miles of hiking trails, camping, picnicking, swimming, boating and fishing. Scuba diving is allowed in Snail Shell Harbor during certain times of the day. A fee and use permit are required for this activity.
Fayette Historic Town Site is located between Escanaba and Manistique, 17 miles south of U.S. 2 in Fayette Historic State Park. A Michigan State Park vehicle permit is required for entrance to the park. Please allow
two to three hours for your visit. Fayette is part of the Michigan Historical Museum system, Department of History, Arts and Libraries. It is interpreted in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation Bureau.