MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: Palmyra, in Lenawee County
Palmyra in Lenawee County is one of those Michigan small towns that is so easy to overlook…but you shouldn’t, if you can help it.
The first land purchase in what was to become Palmyra Township was in 1823 by N. W. Wadsworth. He was followed by Ezra Goff and Henry J. Paddock who settled there in 1826. Soon, more residents of Palmyra, New York, came to the area via boats through the Erie Canal. Putting in at Maumee Bay, they traveled by beasts of burden to what is now Lenawee County. These two pioneers were soon followed by 28 more former residents of Palmyra, New York, and their families. By 1834, Palmyra had grown and became established.
(There are different reference sources where the settler dates do not coincide. So it's probably safe to say Palmyra had it's first settlers and was established somewhere between 1823 - 1834.)
In its heyday, Palmyra had a blacksmith, churches, general store, grist mill, gunsmith, hotel, livery, paper mill (after the grist mill burned down), saloon, saw mill, schoolhouses, and shoemaker.
The main source of income came from farming: barley, clover, corn, oats, potatoes, rye, timothy-grass, and the most profitable crop, wheat. Corn soon followed as a major crop, and dairy farming also began as a good source of income.
Palmyra is still there, nestled in the countryside between Adrian and Blissfield on US-223. It still has a good size smalltown population, not having fallen by the wayside as so many other small Michigan villages. Many of their old buildings still remain. Driving through the neighborhoods, it's easy to pick out the numerous homes that were once old stores.
It’s worth a drive-thru someday when you roadtrip down in Michigan’s southeastern area!