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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Plainwell in Allegan County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Early History of Plainwell

“The Island City”

 
 
Early History of Plainwell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
1. Early History of Plainwell Marker
Inscription. Plainwell, formerly know as Plainfield, became an incorporated municipality in 1869, and later became designated as a city on March 12, 1934. The community is nestled along the banks of the Kalamazoo River and the Mill Race giving it the unique distinction of “The Island City”. Main Street in Plainwell, also known as 10th Street or Old US-131, at one time was part of the Old Plank Road that extended from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo.

Hicks Park
Hicks Park, originally called the Flat Iron because of its shape, is located between Allegan Street (M-89) and West Bridge Street in the center of town. The rear of the pie shaped piece is Church Street. Dedicated at Plainwellís first homecoming in 1907, it is the cityís oldest park. After the property was established as a park, it was named in memory of the villageís first president, Joseph Hicks.

Eesley Mill
Pictured here is the J.F. Eesley Buckwheat Mill originally located on West Bridge Street between W. Bridge and Chart Streets. In 1904, Mr. Eesley had the building moved to the 700 block of East Bridge Street (where it still stands today) to make room for the Ingraham and Travis Implement Store. Previously, J.F. Eesley had traded his property with Ingraham and Travis whose property was located in the flat iron so that Mr. Eesley could
Early History of Plainwell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
2. Early History of Plainwell Marker
On south bank of Kalamazoo River on west side of N. Main Street
give the flat iron property to the village for a park (Hicks Park). At one time, the Sunshine Buckwheat Mill was one of the largest producers of buckwheat flour in the United States.

Plainwell Paper
Plainwell Paper Mill began as Michigan Paper Company in 1886 and has also been known through the years as Hamilton Paper and Simpson Paper. The mill produced quality paper materials from waste paper and was instrumental in the history and development of the community. Operations of the mill ceased in November 2000 and was later acquired by the City of Plainwell in August 2006 with a vision to redevelop it as a multi-use facility.

Bridge Street School
The brick Bridge Street School was built in 1910 to replace the White School House which the community had outgrown. The school did not open until 1912 because additional rooms had to be added. In 1968, the School Administration Department moved into this building after all of the school children were moved to new buildings. The Administration Department remained at this site until 1984. Shortly thereafter, the building was sold to a private individual to be restored for apartment living.

Jail
In 1886, the village of Plainwell purchased property next to the Firemenís Hall on West Bridge Street for their new jail. The work on the jail was to be completed in 60 days, however,
Early History of Plainwell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
3. Early History of Plainwell Marker
View to north along N. Main Street, part of the Old Plank Road between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo
several citizens with property adjacent to the land objected to the building of a jail in their neighborhood. An emergency Village Council Meeting was called and the citizens had 24 hours to purchase a new piece of property for the jailís location. Those involved were able to raise enough money in the time allotted and the new jail was built on a site in the alley behind our present fire station.
 
Erected by City of Plainwell.
 
Location. 42° 26.699′ N, 85° 38.52′ W. Marker is in Plainwell, Michigan, in Allegan County. Marker can be reached from N. Main Street north of E. Bannister Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Plainwell MI 49080, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 7 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Soule Memorial Fountain (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); Otsego Methodist Church (approx. 2.9 miles away); Welcome to the City of Otsego (approx. 3 miles away); Otsego Civil War Memorial (approx. 3.1 miles away); Welcome to Pine Creek (approx. 4.7 miles away); Cooper Congregational Church (approx. 4.9 miles away); DeLano Homestead (approx. 6.2 miles away); The Kalamazoo Region (approx. 6.2 miles away).
 
More about this marker.
Early History of Plainwell Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
4. Early History of Plainwell Marker
View to south towards downtown Plainwell along N. Main Street, part of the Old Plank Road between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo
The marker is at Site #28 of the Allegan County Heritage Trail (driving tour).
 
Also see . . .  Allegan County Heritage Trail Driving Tour. (Submitted on June 18, 2014.)
 
Categories. EducationIndustry & CommerceSettlements & Settlers
 
Hicks Park Yesteryear image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
5. Hicks Park Yesteryear
Close-up of image on marker
Hicks Park Today image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
6. Hicks Park Today
View to north from Park Street
Plainwell Paper Yesteryear image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
7. Plainwell Paper Yesteryear
Close-up of image on marker
Plainwell Paper Today image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
8. Plainwell Paper Today
View from N. Main Street bridge over the Kalamazoo River
Eesley Mill image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
9. Eesley Mill
Close-up of image on marker
Bridge Street School image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
10. Bridge Street School
Close-up of image on marker
Jail image. Click for full size.
By Duane Hall, May 30, 2014
11. Jail
Close-up of image on marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 18, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas. This page has been viewed 531 times since then and 67 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. submitted on June 18, 2014, by Duane Hall of Abilene, Texas.
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