CLIMATE: Cold in Winter Hot in Summer
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Anytime
COMMENTS:Access via Mtn. Bike trail (Kal-Haven)which was the an path for a railroad. Cool old large barn that is falling down. Several old farm houses.
REMAINS: old Barn, old farm homes, overgrown crop. UPDATE: To my dismay it is all gone. I asked around and it seems two barns, a railway station, the plantation main house, servants housing ect has all been leveled for corn fields and two fancy new barns. The only thing that seems original is four old houses between the trail and road to old main house. These are all now private residences.
I visited on 9/1/14.
One railroad depot west of Williams is old town known as Mentha, which is in Van Buren County.
The town once thrived as a result of an ambitious peppermint grower, Albert M.Todd.
Todd's initial peppermint operation achieved a reputation for high quality, and in 1891 he moved his operations to Kalamazoo.
From his new headquarters, Todd improved Michigan mint husbandry by establishing two local commercial experimental farms, one was located in Mentha.
On these plantations Todd promoted research to develop hybrid mint plants and improvements to agricultural techniques. He and his staff made significant advances in distillation technology.
By the turn of the century Todd was the largest producer of peppermint oil in the world and owner of the world's most extensive mint acreage. At this time, 90 percent of the world's supply of mint oil came from an area within a ninety-mile radius of Kalamazoo.
Mentha is featured in the book, "Ghost Towns of Michigan, Vol. 3" by Larry Wakefield. Wakefield describes what caused the once-thriving community to decline to the status of ghost town.
Some remnants of the town still exist and can be seen from the Kal-Haven Trail.
Submitted by: Douglas Becker