Mystery Model Town LbNA # 4076
|Placed Date||May 25 2003|
When I was growing up in my proud Michigan hometown, we knew we truly were in the “Queen City of the North”. We had it all: sandy Great Lakes beaches, parks with virgin forests, rugged hills, a university, a major medical center, and even our own mall! In sharp contrast was a small town 25 miles south. In the middle of cut-over jack pine plains, littered with trailer parks, stock car tracks, and low-rent bars, it was not improved either when the air base came in in 1955, or when it left in 1995. Let’s just call that town “Scudsville.” Oh I knew that those jack pine plains were prime blueberry territory, and that a river made famous by Robert Traver ran through Scudsville, but those features did little to compensate for the general bleakness.
Imagine my surprise, then, to open my local paper a couple of years ago and discover that Scudsville—the entire town—had been named to the National Register of Historic Places! It turns out that Scudsville was built in 1906 as a “model town,” named for the mother of the mine owner whose workers would live there. (So that explains the odd name of the high school team). Scudsville is definitely worth a second look. It has not one, but two branches of the famous river running through town. There’s even a footbridge crossing the river near the city park for the students heading to the high school on the other side. In addition to great fishing and canoeing on the famous river, there are more than 52 lakes in the township, many with public access sites. I was particularly taken with the street names. They’re all either trees or minerals: you could live on the corner of Tamarack and Flint, or Jasper and Maple.
To find the Model Town Letterbox, begin your search at the city park where the main highway crosses the east branch of the famous river. Drive or walk upriver until you come to the tourist park at the corner of Iron and Spruce. Enter the tourist park (campers only from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.) and follow the main road past the campground to the far end of the park. A trail to the left of an orange fence will take you down to the river.
Follow the path closest to the river upstream, passing a small waterfall. Continue past a good site for graffiti. Soon the path will rise and move a little e futher away from the river. Continue to a spot where a large sawn log lies on both sides of the path and a pileated woodpecker has shredded a tree. Count approximately 17 paces (one pace equals two foot-falls) and then look into the woods to your right for a downed tree balanced horizontally across a large stump. The mystery letterbox is in the stump.
Last verified 8/20/04