Hell, Michigan

Salutations to all!

Before you ever use the phrase “when Hell freezes over,” you need to consider the fact that there is indeed a HELL, MI. And yes, it gets mighty cold there.


The origin of the name has a few stories. I had originally heard that the mayor/head councilman/big guy in town was asked what to name the town and he said “call it Hell, for all I care.” The website ties the story to a man paying farmers with whiskey.

Michigan natives know how to tell where a city in the state of Michigan is by pointing to their hand. By using this natural map, one can find Hell just south of the middle of the palm and on the verge of where the meaty part below your thumb starts. To those using a normal map, it’s northwest of Ann Arbor.

Naturally, I took my mother to Hell. Or should I say, to Hell with my mother (I went). Downtown Hell is a curve in the road with 3 buildings on one side of the street: Scream’s ice cream and souvenir shop, Hell Saloon (formerly known as Dam Site Inn), and Hell Hole Burgers (formerly the post office and general store). When I visited 7 years ago, it was a hamlet of 72 people. According to Wikipedia, the unofficial population is now 266.


After arriving and a visit to the public restrooms (or “batrooms,” as they are known; the town takes its name very seriously), our first stop was Scream’s. My mother and I were in the store for about 2 minutes when a man walked in that I recognized. It was John Colone, the man responsible for everything that has made this area notorious. I recognized him because, several years earlier, I made my friend mayor of Hell for a day (one of the many fun opportunities available to fans) and he was the one in charge of the appointment and impeachment.

In fact, here is a video we put together of that day.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the song, and how silly are you if you think I do or am even pretending I do. No profit is being made from this video, it was for amusement purposes only.

We told John about the travel blog and immediately he motioned towards the door with a “you have to see this.” John led us to a path down by the dam (yes, Hell has a dam, serving as fodder for the puns and merchandising opportunities). He pointed out into the river at several clearly man-made stacks of rocks. Apparently, these piles appeared overnight a day or two earlier. No one knows who was responsible or why this happened.


John pondering the origin of the rock formations.

Next to the log over the river, you can see the mark where the log was moved from to be put on top of the rocks.

Even Hell is subjected to pranksters.

Scream’s offers many souvenirs, some of which have caused some controversy.


This t-shirt is seen by some as insensitive to the disaster facing Flint’s residents, but John informed us that part of the proceeds from these shirt purchases goes towards remedying the water situation in Flint, so if you chuckled slightly, don’t feel entirely guilty.

John, a Vietnam veteran, also keeps himself busy with running a campaign to adopt out veterans’ graves to those willing to maintain floral remembrances. If you wish to remember a vet in this way, contact John in Hell.

… how often can someone write that in all sincerity?

There are many things to do around Hell, despite its size, besides ice cream, souvenirs, Hell Saloon, Hell Hole Burgers. For your enjoyment, Hell offers a mini golf course, kayak and canoe rentals, and plenty of photo ops around the area. Visitors can even send postcards or other mail from Hell with the edges singed.

If you are engaged and looking for a unique location to get married, there is a small chapel. It is Hell, of course, so the steeple is topped with the untraditional (albeit apropos) question mark.


Mum preaching to the masses. To indicate size, I am standing from outside and not zoomed in.

If you are simply in love, they have their own Locks of Love bridge.


Hell is a fun day trip to embark upon for souvenirs, puns, and just exploring and seeing the artistic nuances John and others have scattered around for everyone to enjoy.


For more information, visit http://www.gotohellmi.com.

Until next time, dahlings…



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