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The Johannesburg Manufacturing Company created a state of the art lumber operation and incorporated the village in 1901. The town was named for Johanna Hanson Bay, sister of Rasmus Hanson who was president of the Company. (His mother's name was also Johanna Hanson, but his sister and her husband Rasmus Bay moved to Johannesburg and became the company store managers.)

Rasmus Hanson, Nels Michelson and Ernest Salling owned and operated several lumber related businesses around northern Michigan. Johannesburg was the last they founded together. By the time Johannesburg was established, the three founding fathers were elderly. Hanson's and Michelson's sons managed the operation in Johannesburg. Frank Michelson, Nels son, built a beautiful home for his family in Johannesburg.

 Most of the homes and commercial buildings were owned by the Company. Rasmus Hanson's sister Mary Rassmussen and her husband built the hotel, the largest commercial building in town. Frank Michelson built another large commercial building that housed many businesses. It was a brick block structure...the only building constructed from brick. Later, the public school was located in the brick building. In 1929, the Company closed its doors - one month prior to the big stock market crash. They sold all the homes and buildings they owned. Today the company store remains. It has been vacant for many years. In 2009, it was placed on the National Register of Historic places. - S.J. Schiller



Photos from the Camera Club

MAP of logging railroads near Johannesburg

Otsego County Centennial Book
Pages  29  30  31  32

For more information about
Johannesburg, read the book
"Early Life in the Johannesburg Area"
by Wayne B. Welch

For sale in the museum gift shop
Table of Contents

Johannesburg School
Graduation Photos

1936  1937  1938  1939  1940  1941  1942  1943  1944  1945  1946  1947  1948  1949  1950  1951  1952  1953  1954  1955  1956  1957  1958  1959  1960  1961  1962  1963  1964  1965  1966  1967  1968  1969  1970  1971  1972  1973  1974  1975  1976  1977  1978  1979  1980  1981  1982  1983  1984  1985  1986  1987  1988  1989  1990  1991  1992  1993  1994  1995  1996  1997  1998  1999  2000  2001  2002


Otsego County
Historical Society

320 W. Main St.
Gaylord, Michigan

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1223
Gaylord, MI  49734

(989) 732-4568


2000-2009 Otsego County Historical Society, Inc.

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