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The City of Benton Harbor, in the southwestern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, is separated from the City of St. Joseph by the St. Joseph River.

The unincorporated communities of Fairplain and Benton Heights are adjacent to Benton Harbor, and Kalamazoo is forty-six miles to the northeast.

The main route through the city is Bus-94, which connects with I-94 to the east. Other routes include M-63, M-139, Pipestone Road, Red Arrow Highway, and Territorial Road. Twin Cities Area Transportation Authority provides bus transit throughout Benton Harbor and the surrounding region, operating three fixed routes as well as a dial-a-ride service. Southwest Michigan Regional Airport is in the northeastern portion of the city.

Benton Harbor includes the St. Joseph River, which forms the city's western boundary, as well as the Paw Paw River, Ox Creek, and Sand Creek. A small portion of the city, known as Jean Klock Park, fronts on Lake Michigan.

Until the 1860s, the area that was to become Benton Harbor was mostly swampland bounded by the Paw Paw River. In 1860, Sterne Brunson, Charles Hull, and Henry C. Morton acquired land in the region, some of which they contributed toward the construction of a canal through the swamp, to Lake Michigan, creating a harbor. By the time the canal was completed in 1862, they had platted a village, naming it Brunson Harbor. The canal provided a berthing area for ships, and also helped to drain the marsh, both of which brought shipping and manufacturing to the new village.

A post office was established in the village on February 14, 1865, with Henry C. Morton as the first postmaster. In 1866, the village was incorporated, at which time its name was changed to Benton Harbor, in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a Missouri senator who supported Michigan's bid for statehood. Benton Harbor became a city in 1891.

The House of David, formally known as The Israelite House of David, was formed in Benton Harbor as a communal religious society in 1903. Led by Benjamin and Mary Purnell, the group grew to include several hundred members. It had acquired about a thousand acres of land, on which it harvested fruit from several orchards, cultivated grain, and included a cannery, carpentry shop, coach factory, tailor ship, steam laundry, and its own electric plant, which provided lighting to the community. The group also had three brass bands, two orchestras, a zoological garden, and an amusement park that operated up until the 1970s. Members of the group were active in various sports as well, particularly baseball, and its barnstorming baseball teams toured rural America from the 1920s through the 1950s, playing amateur and semi-professional teams in exhibition games.

Since the 1960s, Benton Harbor has been the site of frequent rioting, with notable episodes in 1960, 1966, 1967, 1990, and 2003. Black Autonomy Network Community Organization (BANCO) is a political and social justice organization based in Benton Harbor.

The focus of this category is on the City of Benton Harbor, Michigan. Resources listed here will include websites representing the city or any of its agencies or programs, as well as local industries, businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events.


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