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Charlton Township was established in 1875. The township office and hall buildings are located in Johannesburg, Michigan, and the current township population is estimated at 1,330 (2000 Census). A community rich in history, Johannesburg, like many other towns, emerged with lumbering and milling operations.

Just 10 miles east of Gaylord, Johannesburg was incorporated in 1901, home to the lumbering company of Johannesburg Mfg. Co., operated by the Sailing, Hanson and Michelson families. The town was named after Johanna Hanson, wife of the president of the company.

The company was responsible for much of the construction in the small burg, including the development of a branch railroad line, for many years a lifeline for the town. At its peak, Joburg, as it is nicknamed, was a bustling community of 700. By 1929, 71 lumbering operations had ceased.

Today, a gas station, eateries, post office, small grocery, parklibrarytownship hall, and the people are Johannesburg.

Remnants of its past are preserved at Henry Ford Museum and Hartwick Pines State Park. An old church which once served Joburg has been moved and has been renovated to minister to its people once again.

The community bustles with activity during Its 4th of July celebration with a parade and fireworks show.

Johannesburg-Lewiston Schools are also a focal point for the community.

Much of the text above was taken from “A Profile of Johannesburg” compiled by the Gaylord Herald Times,

Charlton Township Map