Inside the Abandoned Nankin Mill Tavern: Westland, Michigan
The old Nankin Mill Tavern sits empty At 33700 Ann Arbor Trail, addressed as being in Westland, even though it’s closer to Livonia…..but I’ll get back to the tavern in a couple of minutes.
The tavern was once part of the historic Nankin Mills Nature Center, just down the road at 33175 Ann Arbor Trail. The area is centered around an old grist mill which began construction in 1835, abandoned, and finally completed in 1842. With new income came new settlers.
With new people came new businesses, and pretty soon a community became obvious – and it was named ‘Pike’s Peak’. Now along with the mill, Pike’s Peak had a blacksmith, general store, post office, and printer. When the Civil War hit, the grist mill was burned down. A new mill was built in 1863, and that’s the one that still stands to this day - now used for the nature center. The mill was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1967.
In 1918, Henry Ford came along, bought the mill, and used it as part of his Village Industries program. The mill was turned into one of Ford’s automotive parts factories, turning out screws for the Ford Company. But Ford’s village experiment failed and after World War II, the factory/mill was closed down.
In 1948 the mill was taken over by the Wayne County Road Commission who turned it into a nature center in 1956.
Now, as for the afore-mentioned Nankin Hills Tavern – it was built in 1945. It has been closed down for a number of years, but not necessarily devoid of activity. The rumor of a tavern ghost still circulates the area; it’s not unfriendly, but witnesses claim to have heard doors slamming and banging noises. Locals think it’s the spirit of a local mill worker who was killed on the job around the year 1900…..you mean it found its way to the tavern 45 years later? Maybe it’s just a bum trying to scare people away by making noises…who knows.
Either way, the whole area is a very historic place to visit and worth a roadtrip! Check the gallery below for photos inside the old abandoned Nankin Mills Tavern!
The Abandoned Nankin Mill Tavern: Westland