MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: Jerome, in Hillsdale County
Jerome is a small community within Somerset Township in Hillsdale County, called a "shadow" town due to it being a shadow of its former self. It's not a detrimental term, but an historical one.
When the Detroit, Hillsdale, & Indiana Railroad cut thru the forest here in 1869, Jerome Smith and Mary Begel hurriedly platted a village near the railroad so they could be the first to benefit by it. Instead of calling the new community “Begel”, it was named after Mr. Smith.
He became the first station agent as well as the original postmaster in April 1871.
By the 1890’s, another railway cut thru the area: the Cincinnati, Jackson, and Mackinaw Railroad, which was located on the southern part of town.
The town of Jerome soon had a blacksmith, the Carpenter Hotel, cemetery, church, a creamery, the H.S. Walworth home store (furniture, rugs, kitchen items), high school, livery, post office with mail wagons, saloon, train depot, and various other shops.
Today, most are gone except for an updated post office, church, and cemetery. Other businesses are down side roads, but none in the original downtown area.
One of the things Jerome is known for is its annual Buck Pole that you can check out HERE.
You can also read about the nearby Somerset Center ghosts HERE.
Jerome may be small, and not what it used to be, but it’s a pleasant place to drive thru and see, now that you know a little bit more about it.