In 1834 the first settler, Calvin Hill, purchased 400 acres on each side of the Thornapple River and founded Middleville. The Village of Middleville is honored and proud to be the first Trail Town in Michigan with the North Country Trail Association.
The river was the best reason for the location of the Village, providing a convenient means of transportation, as well as power for the grinding mill that attracted farmers to the area. Located in the Thornapple River Valley, the Village of Middleville is located about 16 miles southeast of the metropolitan area of greater Grand Rapids. As with many other small communities across America, the coming of the railroad after the Civil War connected Middleville to the rest of the county and the state. Industry came to the area in the late 1800’s. Companies like French’s Flouring Mills, with their White Lily Flour, Warren Featherbone, and Cold Springs Creamery brought renown to the Village. Today, Middleville’s industry sends premium water heaters and distinctive lampshades to markets throughout the world.
With the closing of the railroad, the rail bed was developed into the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail that the North Country Trail shares. Restaurants next to the Trail include Champs Bar and Grill and Faro’s Italian Pizza. In addition, within one mile on M-37, are many other businesses including a pharmacy, grocery store and gas stations. To the east is the Whispering Waters Campground (open May-September).
People in Middleville feel the Village retains positive qualities of life from the past, while offering opportunities for the future. The stagecoach has been adopted as a logo for the Village. Middleville was once a midpoint on the “Good Intent” stagecoach lines between major cities and served as a place for passengers to find hospitality and refreshments. Today its citizens continue the satisfaction of sharing with others the quality of life they enjoy. The people of Middleville are confident the strengths of the past will carry them into the future.
The Chief Noonday Chapter is responsible for the North Country Trail section nearest Middleville.
Header photo by Dove Day.