East Jordan is a city in Charlevoix County, in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,507 at the 2000 census. The city is at the end of the south arm of Lake Charlevoix, at the mouth of the Jordan River. M-66 connects with US 31 atCharlevoix about 12 miles to the northwest and with US 131 at Mancelona 18 miles to the south. M-32 has its western terminus in the city and connects with US 131 about 16 miles to the east and with I-75 at Gaylord about 29 miles to the east.
History of the East Jordan Iron Work
East Jordan Iron Works, Inc. has been a part of the East Jordan, Michigan, community for over 125 years. William E. Malpass and his father-in-law, Richard W. Round, established the foundry November 8, 1883, to service the area's booming lumber industry. At the time, the foundry produced castings for machine parts, ship parts, agricultural uses, and eventually railroads. Soon after the company was founded, W.E. Malpass called upon his brother James, a journeyman machinist in England, to join the firm.
At the time, the foundry produced castings for machine parts, ship parts, agricultural uses, and eventually railroads. Soon after the company was founded, W.E. Malpass called upon his brother James, a journeyman machinist in England, to join the firm. East Jordan was founded sometime in the 1870s when a logging mill was built along the Jordan River near the town. The town grew quickly, and by 1890, it boasted a large Iron Works ( the East Jordan Iron Works still operates today), a feed mill, and a population of nearly 1000. By the turn of the century, the city was being serviced by two railroads. With these two railroad connections, East Jordan quickly grew into a major manufacturing center. Even to this day, 4 large industrial corporations still operate within the town.
In 1899, the Detroit and Charlevoix Railroad built their mainline through the East side of the city, and in 1901 the East Jordan and Southern Railway began operations on the western end of the town. With these two railroad connections, East Jordan quickly grew into a major manufacturing center. In 1932, the Detroit and Charlevoix was abandoned, and the East Jordan and Southern followed suit in 1962.
East Jordan Water Shed (Friends of the Jordan River)
The Jordan Valley's natural history dates back to the retreat of the Wisconsin Glacier about 10,000 years ago. The ebb and flow of this giant ice shield created the random hills, valleys, river channels, lakes, and streams. Little is known about the valley's early cultural history except that indigenous peoples utilized these lands and harvested their resources for ages. Explorers, fur trappers, and missionaries were some of the first Europeans to visit this region.
Later, in the mid 1800's, homesteads began to appear around the river's mouth. In the late 1800's the logging era boomed. Most of the Jordan Valley was sequentially clear-cut. The Jordan River was used as a log driving stream supplying saw mills all around the Great Lakes. In the early 1900's, immense wildfires burned large areas of the watershed.
By 1925 most of the timber, saw mills, and logging camps were gone. Some people attempted to farm the cleared lands but soon found the thin soils unproductive. Many of these barren lands reverted to state ownership. Today these lands have been allowed to heal and are now part of the 25,000 acre Jordan Valley Management Area of the Mackinaw State Forest.
“The period of early logging in the hills of the Jordan river valley was marred by several fatal accidents. The last known and best recalled tragedy took the life of 21 year old Stanley Graczyk (Big Sam), a fun-loving lumberjack. Soon to be married he became legend on May 20, 1910 when he was killed while driving a team and big wheels loaded with logs down a steep slope near here. This high point, with its commanding view of the valley, has ever since been known as “Deadman’s Hill.”~from sign atop Deadman’s Hill Overlook.