“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Sherwood in Branch County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Riley Dam & Trail End

Union City Heritage Water Trail

28. Riley Dam & Trail End Marker image. Click for full size.
By Val Rossman, June 23, 2016
1. 28. Riley Dam & Trail End Marker
Inscription.  George Ackerman, as a UCHS student, noted this spot on the river as a possible location for a dam. He went on to become a civil engineer. Around 1919, rising coal costs forced the village to turn toward hydro and they sought out Ackerman’s Chicago firm. Land acquisition was nearly blocked by local owners, and the village council that pushed the controversial project through was nicknamed “The Dam Council.” Constructed for $160,000, it was dedicated in August 1923. One hundred ft. in length, with a head of 10 to 15 ft., it still produces up to 15% of local electricity. The portage dock and ramp were added in 2016.
Erected 2016 by Union City Heritage Water Trail. (Marker Number 28.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EnvironmentMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the Michigan - Union City Heritage Water Trail series list.
Location. 42° 2.673′ N, 85° 12.198′ W. Marker is near Sherwood
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, Michigan, in Branch County. While most of these Union City Heritage Water Trail are on private property and meant be viewed from the Coldwater an St. Joe Rivers this one can be seen at Riley Dam off of Riley Rd. in Sherwood, MI and is on Union City Village property. Park in lot and walk to the left of the dam through the fence to the portage on the south west end of Union Lake. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Union City MI 49094, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Municipal Pond" Becomes Union Lake (approx. 2.6 miles away); The Arbogast Bridge (approx. 2.7 miles away); Indigenous Residents (approx. 3 miles away); Elkhorn Lodge: Home of "Skinny" Bullock (approx. 3.1 miles away); Gerald Davison's Hilltop House (approx. 3.2 miles away); Head of St. Joe Navigation (approx. 3.3 miles away); Alumni Field (approx. 3.4 miles away); The Park Street "Spencer" Bridge (approx. 3.6 miles away).
More about this marker. There are 28 of these markers comprising the Union City Heritage Water Trail on the Coldwater River and the St. Joseph River launched in 2016 for the village's Sesquicentennial. These markers can be viewed by paddling the 5 mile stretch of river from the JP Palmer Launch in the Village of Union City to the Riley Dam on the SW Corner of Union Lake. Most of these markers CANNOT by accessed by foot as they are on private property along the river. Please do not trespass. More details can be found at
Also see . . .  Union City Heritage Water Trail Marker 28. This link will take you to the official Union City Heritage Water Trail page for this marker which contains additional photos and information. (Submitted on July 8, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 12, 2016. It was originally submitted on June 24, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. This page has been viewed 598 times since then and 4 times this year. Last updated on July 8, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. Photo   1. submitted on June 24, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Jun. 6, 2020