MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: Marilla, in Manistee County
The unincorporated community of Marilla (sometimes spelled as “Marrilla” or “Marila”) lies in Marilla Township, Manistee County, 26 miles north of Manistee and 7 miles east of Kaleva.
The town’s first settler was New Yorker C. Churchill in 1866. Soon afterward, others came and it began shaping up as a town. By 1869, Marilla Township was organized, named after a township board member’s sister.
By 1870 it was a small settlement, its main purpose as a stagecoach and railway postal stop along the Manistee & North Eastern Railroad. At its peak, Marilla had a blacksmith, two general stores, grain elevator, horse dealer, lumberman, post office, real estate office, and train station. The post office ran from 1871 to 1935. Nowadays, there may be a couple of small old structures and another that looks like an old general store.
In 1910 the population was less than 100 and by 1918 it had dwindled down to 30.
Take a drive-thru and get some pics of the old store before it’s gone, and maybe you can still see where the old railroad used to cut through town.