Lost in the Northern Michigan woods are a series of "stairs to nowhere" leading to what was once a neighborhood in the city of Negaunee, a suburb of Marquette.

The houses that once lined the streets of Old Town Negaunee are now gone, long abandoned, due to unstable land underneath them from area mining operations.

Negaunee was built around the Jackson Mine. However the land above the mine proved unstable and, incredibly, half the city needed to be abandoned due to the unstable land. The Jackson Mine closed operations by 1940s. The area of Old Town Negaunee is now a park with the abandoned land known as the Caving Grounds.

Nowadays most of that land has reopened for recreational use and trails have sprung up for year-round use, mostly in hopes to bring back some luster and fun to the shrinking city.

A blog by Jacob Emerick has some outstanding photos of the lost Negaunee as does this one from the Historic Adventure blog which provides this overview and caution:

Now today with all the mines in the city closed down, there's no more fear of cave-ins for most of the previously closed off areas, and the powers-that-be have decided to allow access again. One has to be careful however, because there are still dangerous areas and mine-shafts around. While some fences are old and rusty, there are quite a few that are well maintained and obviously still blocking off dangerous areas! Better to be cautious than dead down in a mine shaft!

Travel Marquette also calls it one of the 5 most haunted locations in Marquette County.

Though hauntings have never been officially reported at the site of Old Town Negaunee, the massive hunk of land to the west of modern Negaunee has a storied history, with the skeletal remains of the bustling mining town to boot.

With massive mining operations taking place in “Old Town” from the mid-1800s until the early 1900s, the very ground that the town was built on began to crumble. The mines had begun to cave, eating up sheds and outlying buildings before it was ultimately decided that Negaunee — built quite literally on the iron ore beneath the feet of its residents — would have to relocate. Homes were either demolished or transported by semi to the north and east end of town, and by the late 1950s, nothing remained of Old Town.

But the best part about Old Town? Besides a few fenced-off caving grounds from the iron mines that formerly dotted the area, it’s entirely open to the public. Streets, sidewalks and even stairwells leading to nonexistent homes and neighborhoods lay barren and overgrown with moss and brush. Mountain bike and hiking trails course through the former community, taking visitors on a moving tour of what was once the most vibrant mining town in the Central Upper Peninsula.

Take a view tour of the Caving Ground


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