Ghost Town - Singapore, Michigan: Fires of 1871 and Sand Dunes.


Will stick it into this sub-forum for right now. Thanks to @CurryCat, this sand buried town of Sigapore, Michigan came to our attention. Personally, I have never heard about it, yet, in the 19th century, they had their own currency, as you can see below.



The Official Narrative
and 1871

Singapore, Michigan, was founded in 1836 by New York land speculator Oshea Wilder, who was hoping to build a port town to rival Chicago and Milwaukee. At its height, the town had three mills, two hotels, several general stores, a renowned bank, and was home to Michigan's first schoolhouse. In total, the town consisted of 23 buildings and two sawmills. The town thrived and boasted a population of several hundred people by 1871.


Singapore, perhaps Michigan's most famous ghost town, is one of the casualties of the four great fires (Chicago, Holland, Peshtigo, and Manistee) that ravaged the northern midwest on October 8, 1871. Its ruins now lie buried beneath the sand dunes of the Lake Michigan shoreline at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River in Saugatuck Township, near the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas in Allegan County.

After the fires which swept through Chicago, Holland, and Peshtigo in late 1871, Singapore was almost completely deforested supplying the three towns with lumber for rebuilding. Without the protective tree cover, the winds and sands coming off Lake Michigan quickly eroded the town into ruins and within four years had completely covered it over. The town was vacated by 1875.


Today, Singapore lives on only in the name of the Singapore Yacht Club, which is at one end of town. Just as the "cow kicking over the lantern" story was born out of the Great Chicago Fire, this event also gave birth to a legend. The story persists that one resident of Singapore refused to move, even as the sand enveloped his home. Eventually he had to enter and leave the dwelling by a second floor window, and he stayed until the sand reached the roof.

The Sands of Lake Michigan
East Coast
It becomes rather interesting if we consider the possibility of these sands not being there prior to the so called "Fire" of 1871.


It could raise a few interesting questions, among which would be this one - where does sand come from? And related to the issue, of course:

Links and Sources:
KD: I do not have anything special to say on the issue here, besides that we have that same year 1871, and a town buried under up to 30 feet of sand... in Michigan. Deforestation is being blamed. Any thoughts?


Well-known member
that is a lot of sand!

we go hiking & camp on an uninhabited island off the coast of Georgia every year or two and have been for many years. Ive watched the sand move in over 30 years here and its alot but no where close to that much.

I think it comes from the tide and then the winds pick it up from low tide and move it but over 30years it is only 20' higher dunes and only in some spots.

I wanted to find more detailed photos of those bank notes but no luck however I did find this interesting about them and some of the towns history:

Bank of Singapore, Michigan note collectors


Well-known member
Very interesting. There was enough sand dumped north of Oval Beach to change the course of the Kalamazoo.
You can still see the old pier on google maps.



Despite all the improvements to the piers, drifting sand continued to plague the river’s mouth. The ox-bow shape with its dangerous shoals made it difficult for ships to maneuver around the double turn. Some of the roofs and upper floors were still visible in the ghost village of Singapore around the turn of the century. Work began in 1904 to cut a channel straight from Lake Michigan to the top of the ox-bow, a mile north of the old river’s mouth, effectively cutting off the lower portion of the river.

Lake Effect Living - Lighthouses - Kalamazoo River Lighthouse

The lighthouse and pier.

Seeing The Light - Kalamazoo River Lighthouse
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Well-known member
This is an excellent topic! It reminds me of the huge swaths of sand that can be seen in parts of northern Russia. I'm on my Kindle at work, so I can't find pictures right now, but if you scroll around on Google maps, you'll come across them. The explanation is that they are the remnants of ancient lakes. However, Sylvie mentioned, in one of her Newearth videos, that if you scrape away the sand, there is normal soil underneath, and plants and flowers will soon take root in it. I could not find any information about this; I'll have to do a more thorough search one of these days. The sand fields look really out of place. It's as if the sand was dumped on the ground from high up.


New member
I have been living in Michigan for most of my life, and can contest to this and other oddities I have encountered living here. If I could ever find the time I have so much to add, but I would like to throw this curve ball (I apologize if this is out of place).

I am currently living in Michigan Upper peninsula, which is historically Anishinaabe territory. Anishinaabe folklore speaks about migration, and I am convinced they are somehow related to the Tartars. There are several out of place buildings in the downtown area of my city, and in particular the the city hall has a turret that reminds me of Saint Basil's Cathedral and I believe could be a recycled building.

City Hall circa 1908

Look at the surrounding buildings, the city hall towers over them in both size and design. Out of place even then.


City Hall Today​

Other potential recycled buildings:

Houghton County Court House

Marquette County Prison (no longer exist's, but
was totally once a castle- Look at this thing!)


Terraced garden at Marquette Prison


Calumet Fire Station


New member
I read a story a few years ago about older people in the city of Nida near Kaliningrad who told of a city that is completely buried under a huge nearby sand hill


Well-known member
I read a story a few years ago about older people in the city of Nida near Kaliningrad who told of a city that is completely buried under a huge nearby sand hill
Apparently, more than one town there got buried. "The Curonian Spit for centuries has been an area of massive traveling dunes, the so-called “Lithuanian Sahara”. Its few fishing villages used to be ephemeral: over 10 of them are known to have been consumed by the moving dunes." And oh look, it's a UNESCO World Heritage site. Building new buildings has been outlawed but they did make an exception in their overwhelmingly Lutheran town for a Catholic church to be build (2003).