Lost Villages of Shelby
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Shelby Township Historical Committee



The lost village of Cooley's Corners was located at the intersection of 24 mile and Schoenherr Roads. Cooley's Corners was the home of Dr. Dennis Cooley. He was a botanist who wrote several papers on the area's plant life during the late 1880's. In addition to being a medical doctor, Dr. Cooley served as the Washington Postmaster from 1836 to 1859.


The lost village of Prestonville was located at the junction of 25 mile and Schoenherr Roads. This small interrelated community was started by John Tupper and Ira Preston. Preston purchased five 80 acre land parcels from the United States Goverment in 1826. These were located on the middle branch of the Clinton River. The families in groups of twenty indivduals, came from New York in 1837. They brought with them the parts necessary for the construction of a small sawmill. The sawmill was the first in Macomb County. It operated for forty years and disappeared in the 1870's.

The Preston family built a 18 by 24 foot, shake roof, log cabin with bark covered gable ends, a blanket for a door, and a floor made of split logs. Ice was obtained from the mill pond, Cusick Lake, or even as far away as Lake St.Clair.

The Preston and Carlenton family reunions were always big affairs. They included movies and an all family member girl band.

Today, there are three reminders of Prestonville's past:1) The Prestonville Cemetary; 2) The Prestonville Schoolhouse; 3) Carlenton Furhman, the only living descendant residing on the land originally purchased by his great-grandfather Ira Preston.

Ira Preston, in 1838, deeded a one acre parcel of his land for the establishment of the Prestonville Cemetary. The majority of the Preston and Carlenton family members are buried within the Prestonville Cemetary.

Prior to the construction of a one room schoolhouse (later identified as Shelby School #3) residents had to travel to neighborhood villages for school: 1)grades 1-8 to Macomb Corners; 2) grade 9-10 to Davis. The Normal Teachers School offered a one year course and was located in New Baltimore. Travel required the utilization of wagon cart to Chesterfield Township and then boarding the Interurban to New Baltimore.

In 1881, the Prestonville enrollment consisted of 64 students. A teacher was paid $500. a year for his or her services. During the 1920's seventh grade students were required to travel to Utica for testing prior to qualification of passage to 8th grade. They also had to return prior to passage to the 10th grade. The school closed in 1954 and is currently a private residence.


Depew/Depew Siding was a train stop at 23 mile Road, 1/2 mile east of Dequindre. This was a milk stop, located on the property owned by the Depew's around 1895. The area later became the G&H Land Fill.


The junction of the Michigan Air Line( later the Grand Trunk) Railroad tracks at 25 mile and Shelby Road was known as Shelby Station or Shelby Crossing. Today the only recognition of any old settlement is the Curtis Cemetary. The older structures in the area are long gone. these include a house and barn on the southwest corner. The barn burned down in the mid 1960's. A turkey farm containing a house and barn also stood on the northwest corner.( The Historical Committee has a picture on file.)

Besides being utilized as a milk stop, local residents could board for travel to Rochester Mi. Local residents were often warned to watch out for hobos who frequented the train. Mr. Dull who lived on the southwest corner, rode his handcart up the right of way to Washington where he worked for Western Union.

On October 28, 1881 , 200 local citizens chased a bear for 3 miles and found it accompanying two "tame" Indians.

The Curtis Cemetary contains sites of many former area residents including: Hiram Andrews, The Curtis's, Issac and Mary Monfort, and veterans of the Mexican War (1848) and of the Civil War.

SOURCES: Lost Villages, Small Towns and Railroad stops in Oakland and Macomb County by Deborah J. Remer
(Sponsered by Rochester Hills Museum and Van Hossen Farm)