The famous tones of Darth Vader from "Star Wars" were voiced by actor James Earl was in this obscure Michigan town where he spent his childhood. The former town of Dublin may not show up on some maps, but the Dublin General Store does.

Dublin sits within Norman Township in Manistee County. It was a lumber town, sitting along the Pere Marquette Railroad. Trains traveled a steep grade in the area, which sometimes caused them to lose their shipments. They had to double back to pick up their lost cargo, therefore - so the legend says - the town was dubbed "Dublin" as in "doublin' back".

As for "Darth Vader" himself, James Earl Jones, his family moved here from Mississippi into an old chicken barn that was transformed into their home (some bios mistakenly say he lived in Brethren, due to the fact that Dublin was in the Brethren School District).

107.7 WRKR-FM logo
Get our free mobile app

His old house is gone, but the foundation remains, with pine trees growing out of it. Think you can find it? Just take one of the few side roads and see if you can tell which one it is! Dublin has some hidden neighborhoods within the woods so be respectful if you happen to drive down any of those dirt roads (there is a "James" street in the woods, which makes me wonder...did they name it after him? Is that the road he once lived on?).

In 1918, thirteen years before Jones was born, the population of Dublin was 100. At one time Dublin had an auto livery, blacksmith, general store, gift shop, insurance office, library, newsdealer, photo shop, post office, three poultry farms, railroad station, and real estate office. Nowadays there's a general/hardware store, gas station, and a couple of other businesses. The rest are all gone and their remains are hard to find, if any.

This would be a great stop on your Michigan roadtrip - especially for "Star Wars" fans! But please be respectful of the community and private property; take your pictures, buy some road munchies, but don't vandalize or be obnoxious. This is a cool little community!



Edgar Bergen and the Town of Decatur

Willie Horton & Al Kaline

Malcolm X's Life In Lansing

More From 107.7 WRKR-FM