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

Branch County Michigan Historical Markers

Bronson Public Library image, Touch for more information
By Duane Hall, November 19, 2012
Bronson Public Library
Michigan (Branch County), Bronson — L2090 — Bronson Public Library
The Bronson library originated in the early 1880s as the Ladies Library Association. In 1888 the township assumed ownership. Built with funds donated by steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie, the Classical Revival Bronson Public Library opened on May 23, . . . — Map (db m64550) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Bronson — S162 — The Chicago Road
One of the great routes for the pioneers coming west was the Chicago Road. The survey of the road began at Detroit in 1825 and followed closely the Sauk Trail which Indians had marked and traveled for centuries before the coming of the white man. . . . — Map (db m64549) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Branch Cemetery
The plat for the Village of Branch was signed the 16th day of March 1832 in Detroit by Sol. Sibley a Supreme Court judge for the Territory of Michigan. The proprietors Elisha Warren, De Gormo Jones, and Ebenezer S. Sibley also signed. . . . — Map (db m66771) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — L1642C — Branch County / Branch County Courthouse Site
(Obverse Side) Branch County Branch County, named for John Branch, President Andrew Jackson's secretary of the navy, was one of thirteen counties established by the Michigan Territorial Legislature in 1829. The village of Branch, . . . — Map (db m66759) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Branch County Korean and Vietnam Wars Memorial
In honor of the men and women who served their God and Country during the Korean and Vietnam Wars — Map (db m66770) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Branch County World War I Memorial1917 1919
A tribute to the men of Branch County who in the spirit of loyalty served their country in the World War and in loving memory of those inscribed below who made the supreme sacrifice. Adams, George R. • Alderman, Claude W. • Berger, Harold • . . . — Map (db m66692) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Branch County World War II Memorial
Memorial To honor those valiant men and women of World War II who gave their lives for God and Country Paul Keller • Richard Symons • Donald Perry • Rollin Johnson • Marion Nutt • Donald Russell • Sidney Palmateer • Harold Van Patten • . . . — Map (db m66769) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Coldwater Michigan National Guard Armory Memorial
The Michigan National Guard Armory was dedicated in 1917 and was the major information and gathering facility for Branch County's Military, Company A-32. These guns, known as the Maxim-Nordenfeldt Automatics, are anti-aircraft weapons, and they . . . — Map (db m66694) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Coldwater War Memorial
(Front Panel) To the memory of the soldier dead Erected by Butterworth Woman's Relief Corps No. 31 and the Citizens of Coldwater Dec 1906 (Right Side Panel) To the memory of the soliders of the . . . — Map (db m66718) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — L657A/281 — First Presbyterian ChurchAmerican Presbyterian and Reformed Historical Site
Organized in 1837, the same year that Coldwater became a village, the local Presbyterian society held services in various quarters until 1844 when it erected its first church. It completed the present Romanesque Revival-style brick church in 1869 at . . . — Map (db m122218) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Frank D. NewberryVolunteer Soldier
Born at Rochester, Michigan, June 23, 1840 Died at San Jose, California, December 28, 1912 Civil War 1861-1863 Private Duryees Zouaves, 5th N.Y. Inf. Michigan National Guard Enlisted 1876 Commissioned Capt. Co. A, 2nd Regt. . . . — Map (db m66691) HM WM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — S489 — Governor Cyrus Gray Luce
On this site lived Cyrus Gray Luce, twenty-seventh Governor of Michigan. Born in Ohio in 1824, he moved to Branch County about 1849. He soon became involved in township, local and state politics, serving on the Board of Agriculture, in the . . . — Map (db m66760) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — L2258 — H.C. Lewis Art Gallery / Masonic Temple
H.C. Lewis Art Gallery Businessman Henry Clay Lewis and his wife, Alma, built the original part of this structure in 1869 to house their extensive art collection and make it available to the public. The Italianate building complimented the . . . — Map (db m103503) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — L1490C — Harriet Quimby
(Front Side) According to a long-standing Quimby family tradition, early aviatrix Harriet Quimby was born in the Coldwater area on May 1, 1875, to Ursula (Cook) and William Quimby. She spent her childhood in Arcadia, Michigan, and Arroyo . . . — Map (db m67528) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Loomis' BatteryBattery A First Michigan Light Artillery Organized in Coldwater and Known as
This is one of the six ten pounder Parrott guns sent to Loomis Battery by General McClellan at Rich Mountain, West Virginia, to replace the old six pounder brass gun originally supplied the battery, and was in service in West Virginia from July 1st . . . — Map (db m66690) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — S275 — Michigan Library Association
The first formal step toward the founding of a state library association was taken by Mary A. Eddy, of the Coldwater Free Public Library, in a letter to Henry M. Utley of the Detroit Public Library on January 13, 1891. They had discussed this matter . . . — Map (db m66717) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Old SamBorn April 4, 1849 Died November 8, 1876
Hero of the Civil War, a beautiful, powerfully built draft horse, was the only survivor of the two hundred horses assigned to the Loomis battery of Michigan, after having been engaged in many battles and skirmishes. Old Sam was wounded several . . . — Map (db m66693) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — Richard L. Bettinger Memorial Gardens
The gardens in the library park have been donated by the family of Richard L. Bettinger in honor of donors who contributed $500 or more to the renovation of the Naomi Davis Home, Branch County's shelterhouse. Individuals and organizations who made . . . — Map (db m104982) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — S530B — State Public School at Coldwater / Coldwater Regional Center
State Public School at Coldwater In 1871 the Michigan legislature authorized the building of a special state public school to furnish temporary support and instruction for dependent and neglected children between the ages of four and . . . — Map (db m68976) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — L19 — The City of Coldwater, 1861-1961
Potawatomie Indians ceded Coldwater Prairie to the United States in 1827. The Indians called it “Chuck-sew-ya-bish,” meaning “cold spring water.” Coldwater is located at the junction of Old Sauk and Fort Wayne Indian trails. . . . — Map (db m65858) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Coldwater — S445 — Wing House Museum
This impressive Second Empire style home with mansard roof was constructed in 1875 for Jay M. Chandler (1850-1884) and his young bride Frances. On this site from 1847-1871 had stood the Parrish flouring mill. Jay, the fourth son of locally prominent . . . — Map (db m66761) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Girard Township — L2015 — Methodist Episcopal Church
Methodists held the first religious services in Girard Township. Organized in 1832 by the Reverend Ezekiel Gavit, a circuit rider, the congregation met in homes and a school until a church was built in 1844. When that structure burned in 1887 it was . . . — Map (db m65812) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Quincy — L1508A — Quincy Public Library
(Front Side) In 1906 Quincy businessman Charles W. Bennett and steel entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie both offered to build a library in Quincy Township. Carnegie required that the township provide the land and name the building after him. . . . — Map (db m66774) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Sherwood — 28 — Riley Dam & Trail EndUnion City Heritage Water Trail
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 . . . — Map (db m95654) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 27 — "Municipal Pond" Becomes Union Lake
In 1923, when the Riley Dam was built in the St. Joe to create hydro for the village, the 500+ acre backwater was known only as the “Municipal Pond.” There had not been enough time to clear the swampy land before damming, so trees were . . . — Map (db m95243) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 7 — "Union" of the RiversUnion City Heritage Water Trail
At this point the Coldwater and St. Joe Rivers join, creating their namesake “Union” City. In the late 1820s a road surveying party following the Washtenaw Indian Trail that later became M-60 stumbled upon this junction and returned . . . — Map (db m95217) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 20 — Alumni FieldUnion City Heritage Water Trail
In June 1925, 178 members of the Alumni Association gave donations of $970.19 to purchase Davis Field for construction of a track, baseball diamond, tennis courts and football field. In 1926, the land was donated to the school, and on June 14, 1929, . . . — Map (db m95226) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 10 — Caille Richards CompanyUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The Blue Star Veteran’s Park Memorial up and to the left was once the site of one of Union City’s most important industries. Established in 1901, Caille Richards Co. was part of a large international company with headquarters in Detroit and branches . . . — Map (db m95219) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 13 — Chivas & Jack's GroceryUnion City Heritage Water Trail
In August of 1966, Arnold “Jack” and Rosemary Shaffer purchased from Mae and Blanche Miller & Ray Chivas Chivas Grocery, which had stood on this corner for more than 30 years with a barbershop on the 2nd floor. Whitlock Shoes occupied . . . — Map (db m95228) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 4 — Coldwater River & BridgeUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The first wooden bridge was built across the Coldwater River in 1843 with a steel bridge erected about 1895. The current bridge was constructed in the late 1950s. The Coldwater River starts from Coldwater Lake and meanders northwest 29.5 miles . . . — Map (db m95164) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 23 — Elkhorn Lodge: Home of "Skinny" Bullock
Union City's own “Daniel Boone,” Austin “Skinny” Bullock (1908-77), moved into this, his beloved Elkhorn Lodge, on the first day of summer in 1952. He was a colorful local legend who loved to hunt, trap and fish, earning . . . — Map (db m95241) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — L2190 — First Congregational Church
On March 7, 1837, the Reverend Calvin Clark of Homer led sixteen people in organizing the First Congregational Church of Union City. The congregation is likely the oldest of this denomination in the state. This Romanesque Revival building dates from . . . — Map (db m65805) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 9 — First Fire HallUnion City Heritage Water Trail
In 1872, the Village Council made an appropriation of $1500 to purchase the first fire fighting equipment, a hand fire engine hose cart and 500 ft. of hose. The engine was christened “The St. Joseph” and a 43 member volunteer department . . . — Map (db m95218) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 22 — Gerald Davison's Hilltop House
1926 UCHS graduate and creative entrepreneur, Gerald Davison (1908-75) was the founder of Duo Coach Trailer(Marker #12). Upon selling that enterprise, he designed and built many unique Frank Lloyd Wright style homes in Union City and on Sycamore . . . — Map (db m95240) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 21 — Head of St. Joe NavigationUnion City Heritage Water Trail
In the 1800s, Union City was the head to 170 miles of busy commerce on the St. Joe. Large freight barges poled by 8 men as well as steamers carried grain, pork, whiskey, flour, hides, furs, pig iron and other goods manufactured along its banks . . . — Map (db m95227) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 24 — Indigenous Residents
Long before European settlement and Union City, the St. Joe was known by Native Americans as the River of the Miamis. It was an important resource for water, game, fish and transportation. The origin of the St. Joe is found in the lake in Hillsdale . . . — Map (db m95242) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 2 — J.P. Palmer Launch and & Railroad TrestleUnion City Heritage Water Trail
Thanks to late 1800s area artist J.P. Palmer, many local river scenes were preserved in watercolor and oil. Moving here at age 10 from New York, he went on to study at Albion College and the Chicago Art Institute. His paintings were in great demand . . . — Map (db m95653) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 6 — Narrow Gauge Railway to the Cement FactoryUnion City Heritage Water Trail
There was a trestle here for a narrow gauge railway from Turtle Lake, 2 miles to the north, to the cement factory in the SE corner of town for transporting marl. The railway crossed both the St. Joe and Coldwater Rivers. Peerless Portland Cement was . . . — Map (db m95167) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 3 — Randall Dam & Start of MillraceUnion City Heritage Water Trail
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 . . . — Map (db m95207) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 12 — Riverside Hotel, Duo Coach & UCIUnion City Heritage Water Trail
Built in the early 1870s near the depot on Railroad St., the Riverside Hotel was first known as the Johnson House. It was moved to this location by teams of horses and oxen while rolling on logs. The two long verandas were then added. Before its . . . — Map (db m95221) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 16 — Riverview ParkUnion City Heritage Water Trail
Organized in 1923, The Women’s Tuesday Club was committed to “the promotion of literary, scientific, social and civic pursuits . . .” In 1957, under the leadership of Lillian Schwendener, they began realizing a dream of a . . . — Map (db m95166) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 26 — The Arbogast BridgeUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The Arbogast Bridge is considered the east end of Union Lake. The wetlands surrounding the bridge are significant habitat to many types of birds and waterfowl. Keep your eye peeled for swans, sandhill cranes, loons, cormorants, heron, egrets, geese, . . . — Map (db m95400) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 11 — The Broadway BridgeUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The first Broadway Bridge was constructed of wood in 1835. It was replaced with a steel structure in 1876. One of the largest bridges in Branch Co., it was washed out in the flood of 1908. Many locals who had been observing the floodwaters below . . . — Map (db m95220) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 15 — The Flood of 1908 & Broadway Bridge "Island"Union City Heritage Water Trail
On March 4,1908, heavy rains on top of 24” of snow followed by a thaw caused the rivers to spill over 4” above their highest known levels, submerging large sections of the village. The Broadway Bridge collapsed into the swollen river and . . . — Map (db m95156) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 18 — The French & Trading PostsUnion City Heritage Water Trail
Late in the seventeenth century, early French voyageurs made use of the entire length of the St. Joe in their push westward. The French built forts on the river at St. Joseph (1679) and Niles (1691) as strongholds for the fur trade. A memoir to the . . . — Map (db m95224) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 19 — The Park Street "Spencer" BridgeUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The Park Street Bridge was the second bridge built in Union City and originally wooden. The first steel span was erected in 1905. It was removed and replaced in 1974 with a new bridge at the cost of $141,000. The new bridge was renamed the Spencer . . . — Map (db m95225) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 8 — The St. Joe Tavern & The BucketUnion City Heritage Water Trail
In 1833 just behind this home a livery was first deeded to feed and stable local horses. In 1913 it was known as Bell Livery Stable. In 1937, Mr. Densmore converted the livery to The St. Joe Tavern after moving the bar business from the Riverside . . . — Map (db m95397) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 14 — Titlow House & Parachute FactoryUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The Titlow House was built on this site in 1845, originally containing a store and meat market before the conversion to a hotel in 1867. In 1915, it was razed to make way for Spoore’s Ford Garage. It was subsequently owned by Engle Stanton, . . . — Map (db m95206) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — Union City Civil War Monument
(West Side) To the Memory of Our Fallen Heroes 1861 - 1865 Erected May 30th, 1884 (South Side) Franklin Pitssburg Landing (sic) Nashville (East Side) Atlanta Mission Ridge Vicksburg . . . — Map (db m65840) WM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 5 — Union City CreameryUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The Union City Creamery was established in July 1901 as a co-operative enterprise between fifty local farmers and a handful of businessmen on capitol stock of $10,000. In 1902, the model plant managed by Mrs. C. B. Spoor averaged milk receipts . . . — Map (db m95401) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — L28 — Union City Iron Furnace
On March 17, 1847, the Union City Iron Company was incorporated with leading citizens of the town as stockholders. The company was formed to produce iron from the bog and kidney iron ore deposits in Union and neighboring townships. A furnace was . . . — Map (db m65808) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — L1835 — Union City Methodist Episcopal Church
(Side One) During 1836-37, cabinetmaker David Hull led the organization of the township's first religious society. Circuit-riding ministers held services for Union City's fledgling Methodist congregation on alternate Sundays. The group . . . — Map (db m65806) HM
Michigan (Branch County), Union City — 17 — Union City Milling and Mill Race OutletUnion City Heritage Water Trail
The small backwater to the left represents the exit of the millrace that was dug diagonally from the Coldwater River and powered saw and grist mills from the first settler in 1834 to 1949 when the 111 year old Randall Mill (below) caught fire. Six . . . — Map (db m95223) HM

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