One notion of where the name of Tula came from is that it was named for the Finnish folk song “Tula Tullalla.” Others say it is named for Tula, Russia, or other cities of the name Tula from which laborers and lumberjacks may have immigrated. The advent of Tula came with the construction of a Detroit, South Shore, & Atlantic Railway branch.

In the 1880s a section house was built for the construction crew of the DSS&A railroad. A town site was platted there for Tula on the Soo Line Railroad in 1887. It had a shingle and lumber mill, a blacksmith shop, barns, a hotel, a general store, bunkhouses for the lumberjacks, and family houses. In 1912 a road connected Tula to Wakefield, a distance of eight miles. Trappers, called “shackers” for the shacks they lived in, trapped in the woods around Tula. The mill sold milled over land to settlers for farming.

The mill originally belonged to the South Side Lumber Company but was sold in 1911 and became the Tula Lumber Co. The following summer the mill burned down. Mr. Lewis Jenson rebuilt the mill in 1913. In 1916 another fire destroyed the lumber yard, mill, and community, and the post office closed later that same year. Lewis Jenson sold to John Schroeder who ran the Tula mill between 1919-1925. Tula lands were sold several times over the next thirty years to logging companies or individuals.

Today there are no standing structures in Tula, only remnants of the former community. The foundations of the railroad depot and lumber mill exist but are covered by trees and underbrush. There are also the foundations of homes and other buildings, but they are hard to find in the woods. The rail line still runs through Tula but has not handled train traffic for several decades.

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Historic Images