Hidden deep in the forests of northern Michigan is the remains of an enormous castle-like mansion. The house was built by Russell Clifford Durant, known as “Cliff” to all his friends. He was the son of William Durant who founded General Motor. In the late 1920’s Cliff and his wife Lea built this opulent mansion on the banks of the Au Sable River.
Sadly the couple never got a chance to live in the house. In 1931, When painters were adding the final coat of paint to one of the rooms they stopped to take a break. While going to nearby Roscommon the house caught fire and burned. It was believed that some turpentine soaked rags caught fire and created the blaze that destroyed the home. Because of the Great Depression, the Durants decided not to rebuild the house. For years the ruins of the Durant Castle stood in the forest but eventually, everything standing was knocked down and the foundation filled in. You can still see some remnants of the castle protruding from the ground. It is now a picnic area within the Mason Tract. Although there is not a lot to see, it is a fun adventure to search for it.
P.S. I always get asked about detailed locations or directions to the places I post. I figure trying to find them as I did is part of the fun. for the most part, a quick search on google maps will show many of the public places. For private or abandoned places I like to keep the location to a general area because unfortunately a few unscrupulous people trespass and vandalize some of the places. If you want more information and detailed location to public places be sure to order a copy of the Lost In Michigan book series that have exact locations.
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