Hell, Michigan is an unincorporated community in Livingston County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The community is in Putnam Township near the border with Washtenaw County about 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor at 42°26'05"N, 83°59'06"W. Hell claims a population of 266 and the ZIP Code is 48169.
For several hundred years, the low, swampy area was occupied mostly by the Potawatomi tribe. Later, in the early 19th century, it was the most unpleasant part of a trail between Lansing and Dexter (which at the time contained a major farmers market) and a point on the route taken by traders portaging between the Huron River and the Grand River.
In the late 1830s, George Reeves, a New York farmer, started several businesses in the area -- a general store, and a mill, and a distillery -- which became the core of a minor population center; by the 1840s, enough people had immigrated to make a 70-person school viable (assuming 19th century birth rates, this pegs the population somewhere close to its current level).
In 1841, as the story goes, Reeves was asked what he wanted the town to be called and responded, "I don't care, you can name it Hell if you want to." His later attempts to rechristen it Reevesville or Reeve's Mills proved futile.
Hell's main export is, appropriately, kitsch. Among other things, it has a "fully non-accredited" college, Damnation University (DamU for short) that sells half-signed diplomas, a small post office in the back of the general store, a motorcycle dealership, and an ice cream parlor. Hell Creek runs through town, and a bar next to the small dam across the creek is known as "The Dam Site Inn".
Web Sites and Links
A Run Through HellA humourous story about a 10 mile running event in Hell.
Dam Site InnOffers live bands every Friday and Saturday. Online menu.
Damnation UniversityOrder your customized degree from Damnation University, in Hell, Michigan.
Dances With Dirt100 K Trail Relay, 100k, 50m, 50k Ultra off road running, includes online registration, accommodations, trail details and event schedules.
Favorite Rides - John BallDetails of a motorcycle enthusiasts trip to Hell and back, includes route and image.
Hell Creek RanchIncludes information on camping and horseback riding facilities.
Hell, Michigan CollectiblesUnique gifts and collectibles, clothing, and special events. Glassware, stoneware, motorcycle and automotive accessories and authentic containers of dirt from Hell.
Hell, MichiganCensus, geography, and demographic information for the city.
Kiwanis ClubInformation about upcoming events, fundraising, and service projects.
Michael KatonBlues guitarist from Hell, Michigan. Tour dates, links, and contact information.
Stranded in HellA script for a play about a frustrated theater professional that ends up in Hell Michigan.