The Central Lake Lumber Company founded the town of Essex in 1899. The Company built a branch of the Pere Marquette Railroad in Banks Township to transport its products to market. During the fall of 1903 the company's advertisement -- "Wanted at Essex 50 men and 10 teams for the Season. Steady work." -- attracted many loggers to Essex. When the company first arrived it dammed King Creek to create an area to wash the logs. The creek is one of the few reminders of the location where the town existed.