Here are 5 lesser known chances to treasure hunt in Southwest Michigan.
Note: Before starting your search, be aware of all state and local laws regarding treasure hunting and prospecting.
Fort St. Joseph
Near the present-day Indiana border close to the south bend of the St. Joseph River stood Fort St. Joseph. The area was an important strategic point both militarily and for the flow of commerce, so early residents lived in fear of attack. Once, an old legend goes, an attack from enemy forces was immanent, townsfolk went to the fort and stuffed an old cannon full of their valuables and sunk it to the river bed. History never recorded what happened to the cannon and the treasures it contained.
Singapore Ghost Town
There was once a bustling and prosperous city where the Kalamazoo River meets Lake Michigan near Saugatuck. The community was known as Singapore. After the Great Chicago Fire, trees around Singapore were cut down to rebuild the city across the lake. However, cutting the trees left the townsite vulnerable to the sand dunes of the area, which overtook and buried the city in just 4 years. The Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society relates a story of coins recovered from long-gone Singapore.
Streams Feeding the Kalamazoo River
While Michigan never experienced a gold rush like California, the Yukon or Alaska, that doesn't mean gold can't be found in our rivers and streams. Quite the opposite actually. A 1906 geologic survey of Michigan conducted by the state disclosed dozens of places were gold could be found including the streams around Allegan. Similar traces of gold were identified near Marcellus in Cass County and Burr Oak in St. Joseph County.
A major flood of the Kalamazoo River hit Albion in 1908. Several downtown businesses were destroyed including, according to a story published by the Morning Star in 2007, Church's Jewelry Store. Years after the downtown flooding was cleaned up, there were reports of finding rings as well as gold and silver coins.
Gravel Pit Diamonds
One of Cass County's most enduring mysteries is the 11 carat diamond that was discovered in a gravel pit near Dowagiac. Likely the geologic oddity was left by retreating glaciars. Similar out-of-place diamonds have been found in Wisconsin and Ohio.