Near Holland in Allegan County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Graafschap Christian Reformed Church
Erected in 1862, this church was the center of the Dutch immigrant community. The first settlers in this area arrived in early 1847 led by the Reverend Albertus C. V. Raalte. In June of that year a separate group of seventy people from Graafschap Betheim, near the Dutch border, founded this village which they named Graafschap. Joined by thirty-four other immigrants from Drente, the Netherlands, the villagers shared common religious views and spoke similar dialects. Before erecting a log church in 1849 near this site, these early settlers attended services conducted by Van Raalte in nearby Holland. Graafschap followed Van Raalte's example by affiliating with the Reformed Church in America in 1850. Seven years later the congregation severed that tie and reasserted its independence.
Those who established this church were among thousands of Europeans who sought to escape religious and political persecution and economic depression by emigrating to America in the 1840s. Later Graafschap was one of the founding members of the Christian Reformed Church which bound itself closely to Dutch customs and ways of thinking, as evidenced by the fact that this church's parishioners continued to speak Dutch for two generations. This structure is made of hand-hewn timber and one of the roof
(Inset on Side Two)
The main structure of the 1862 church was rebuilt in 2000 using the original beams to construct the Heritage Center.
Erected 1977 by Michigan History Division, Department of State. (Marker Number L483.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
Location. 42° 45.148′ N, 86° 7.983′ W. Marker is near Holland, Michigan, in Allegan County. Marker is on Church Street 0.1 miles south of 146th Avenue, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 621 Church Street, Holland MI 49423, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The First Pioneers of Graafschap (here, next to this marker); Laketown Township Hall (approx. 2.4 miles away); Third Reformed Church (approx. The Cappon House / Isaac Cappon (approx. 2.7 miles away); Dutch in Michigan (approx. 2.7 miles away); West Michigan Furniture Company Building (approx. 2.8 miles away); Central Avenue Christian Reformed Church (approx. 2.8 miles away); Holland Post Office (approx. 2.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Holland.
Also see . . .
1. Graafschap Church: History. From the official Graafschap Church website. (Submitted on May 13, 2014.)
2. Graafschap Heritage Center. Exploring the history and descendants of the Dutch immigrants who arrived in West Michigan in 1847. (Submitted on May 13, 2014.)
Categories. • Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 13, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 387 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 13, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.