Most people know about a good number of our state dams, like the Hardy Dam, Croton Dam, Edenville Dam, and others in Hell, Beaverton, Ludington, Silver Lake, and many more. So how many dams would you guess are in Michigan?

100?
500?
1,000?

Michigan has over 2,500 dams and reservoirs. Many of these dams have become tourist attractions, picnic areas, 'secret' fishing sites, and simply someplace to go that's different.

According to Michigan State University, Michigan has twenty six thousand, two hundred and sixty six inland lakes; and close to thirty seven thousand square miles of approximately three hundred and fifty rivers, creeks & streams, - not to mention ponds, watersheds, and water-filled sinkholes. It's a wonder we don't have more dams.

To list all 2,500 dams would be too extensive, so I've narrowed the list down to fifteen. Some of them are massive, some are small and cute. They really do make excellent places to have a picnic.

Michigan's oldest surviving dam was the Pucker Street Dam in Niles, but it has since been torn down; making the Paint Creek Dam's original location in Lake Orion the oldest. There is now a new dam on Paint Creek just under M-24, and the old one is supposedly under restoration.

As for the most historic? That could be debatable among Michigan historians; but many feel it's the Croton Dam built in 1906-1907. An Historical Marker is on site that reads (in part), “...the plant and its 110,000-volt transmission line (the highest voltage in use at that time) attracted international attention. Curious spectators rode excursion trains to the site, where they received a tour of the dam and powerhouse, as well as a grand dinner...engineers from Russia, England, France, Italy, Japan, and India came to tour the plant when it opened”.

You might remember back in 2020 when the Edenville and Sanford dams broke near Midland, causing massive flooding. Read more about that here.

In the meantime, check out the gallery below of fifteen Michigan dams that are worthy of a roadtrip stop!

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