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

Randall Dam & Start of Millrace

Union City Heritage Water Trail

Randall Dam & Start of Millrace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Val Rossman, June 15, 2016
1. Randall Dam & Start of Millrace Marker
Inscription.  Early surveying parties sent out on the Washtenaw trail, which became M-60, took back glowing accounts of the potential for water power at the junction of the two rivers and this quick stretch named the Coldwater Rapids. The first race was constructed by Justice Goodwin, first permanent settler, in 1834 to operate a sawmill. A larger raceway was subsequently dredged diagonally west from here to the St. Joe, providing water power to several saw and grist mills. The first local drowning was in the mill race, a pioneer child of the Olmsted family. In 1840, there was a “sickness” of many residents attributed to too many logs floating in the raceway, causing the Township Board to decree “no logs be allowed to lie in the pond more than 3 days between May and November.” The dam was removed in 2002 and the raceway was filled in.
Erected 2016 by Union City Heritage Water Trail. (Marker Number 3.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Union City Heritage Water Trail marker series.
Location. 42° 3.767′ N, 85° 7.655′ W. Marker is in Union City, Michigan, in Branch County. Marker can be reached from W. Union City Road. Touch for map. This marker is on private property please do not attempt to access it by trespassing on foot. It is mean to be viewed up paddling the Coldwater River. This marker is just north of the JP Palmer Launch on the Coldwater River in the south east corner of Union City. Turn south off Coldwater Rd. just on the west side of the bridge to go back to the JP Palmer kayak launch area. 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 walking distance of this marker. J.P. Palmer Launch and & Railroad Trestle (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Coldwater River & Bridge (approx. 0.2 miles away); Union City Creamery (approx. 0.2 miles away); Narrow Gauge Railway to the Cement Factory (approx. mile away); Union City Iron Furnace (approx. mile away); "Union" of the Rivers (approx. 0.3 miles away); The St. Joe Tavern & The Bucket (approx. 0.4 miles away); First Fire Hall (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Union City.
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 3. At this link you will find more photos and information about the Randall Dam. (Submitted on June 15, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan.) 
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceMan-Made FeaturesWaterways & Vessels
More. Search the internet for Randall Dam & Start of Millrace.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 18, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 15, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. This page has been viewed 132 times since then and 6 times this year. Photo   1. submitted on June 15, 2016, by Val Rossman of Union City, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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