The history of Greenville Michigan starts with its founder, John Green, who settled in the southwest section of Montcalm County back in June of 1844. John, his wife Debra, and their 4 children were natives of New York State. John Green constructed a dam along with a sawmill right on the Flat River that is credited for drawing in different settlers. Green’s Village, it was called back then, pulled in numerous people of Danish root. By 1850, 456 people where living in Eureka Township.
The Flat River was used to send wood down to other mills in Belding, Lowell, Grand Rapids, and Grand Haven. A peak was reached in 1881 when 165 million feet of logs passed through Greenville Michigan. Farmers from Denmark, who moved to Greenville were responsible for contributions to the community which are honored by the celebration of the Danish Festival. The Danish Festival is celebrated annually on the third weekend of August.
After a majority of the trees were cut down in Greenville the land became ideal for growing potatoes. One and a half million bushels of potatoes were shipped out of Greenville a year and the town quickly became the potato capital of the world. Grain was another prominent crop in Greenville and the largest mill, Middleton’s Mill, processed up to 500 barrels of wheat per day.
Butter and eggs were sent from Greenville in large quantities from J.T. Ridley’s Egg Emporium which is now the Flat River Historical Museum. It was stated that 170,000 eggs and 12 tons of butter were shipped per year.
Industries sprang up in Greenville Michigan to support the needs of farmers and lumbermen as well. Ranney Refrigerator Company, Skinner and Steenman Company, and the Moore Plow Implement Company are just to name a few.
To reduce the amount of reading we provided two videos below that thoroughly go over the history of Greenville Michigan.
The History of Greenville Michigan Part One
The History of Greenville Michigan Part Two
We would like to thank DW Video & Multimedia for putting together these great videos on the history of Greenville Michigan.
More information can be found about the history of Greenville Michigan from the following sources: