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The City of Buchanan, Michigan is in southeastern Buchanan Township, southern Berrien County, in the southeastern Lower Peninsula, about five miles from the Indiana border, and about twenty miles from Lake Michigan.

The Saint Joseph River forms the northeastern border of the city, and McCoy Creek enters the city at its southwestern corner, winding largely northeast through the southern part of the city, emptying into the Saint Joseph River in northeast Buchanan.

Although no major highways enter the city limits, US Highway 12 (Pulaski Highway) runs east-west just south of Buchanan, and US Highway 31 runs north-south just east of the city. The chief routes through the city include Bakertown Road, which forms a portion of Buchanan's western border, as well as Galien Buchanan Road, Niles Buchanan Road, Red Bud Trail, and Rynearson Road. River Street crosses the Saint Joseph River, becoming Walton Road, and Main Street continues north of the city for several miles, where it becomes East Glendora Road. Niles is 5.7 miles east, Galien is 9.5 miles southwest, Berrien Springs is 9.8 miles north, and Baroda is 15.2 miles northwest of Buchanan.

The area that would later become the townsite of Buchanan has long been inhabited. Known as the Moccasin Bluff Site, an archaeological site along Red Bud Trail and the Saint Joseph River, just north of Buchanan, has been classified as a prehistoric site with components dating to the Late Woodland/Upper Mississippian period. The terrace between Moccasin Bluff and the river was home to temporary camps as early as 6300 BC, and the area was more permanently occupied by 1100-1400 AD, where residents were engaged in farming.

The first European-Americans settled the area in the 1820s, and the community was founded by Charles Cowles in 1833. Cowles had come to the area from Vermont, followed by John Hatfield and Russell McCoy in 1834. The settlement was originally named McCoy's Creek, for the stream that ran through Russell McCoy's farm, the townsite was platted and recorded as Buchanan in 1842 by John Hamilton, who named the community for then-Senator James Buchanan, who later became the 15th President of the United States. Hamilton had established a flour mill in the area where McCoy Creek empties into the Saint Joseph River, as there was a gradual drop in water level there that made it the perfect site for a milling operation.

A post office was established in Buchanan on March 2, 1848, with John D. Ross as the first postmaster. Buchanan was incorporated as a village in 1858, and as a city in 1929.

Early in the history of the city redbud trees were planted along the city streets and roadways. Clusters of small magenta buds grow into pink flowers in the early spring before the leaves appear. For these trees, Buchanan is sometimes known as Redbud City, and it has been recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA.

Located in the Buchanan Downtown Historic District, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pears Mill is an operating 1850s water-powered flour mill operated by the Buchanan Preservation Society, and using water power from McCoy Creek. Built in 1857, it still produces flour and is open for visitors during the summer months.

Housed in a circa 1865 furniture factory, and functioned as a lumber dealership, hospital, bed factory, and drill manufacturing plant over the years, the Tin Shop Theatre opened in the building in 1984, after a two-year renovation by the Buchanan Fine Arts Council. It is a small theater with summer performance schedules.

Buchanan Community Schools provides a K-12 public school curriculum through Ottawa Elementary School, Moccasin Elementary School, Buchanan Middle School, and Buchanan High School. The district also operates Buchanan Step Up, an online educational program for students who have dropped out of school, and is open to students throughout the state. Buchanan Virtual School offers full-time online opportunities for Buchanan area students in K-12th-grade. Coursework is done from home, with certified teachers available six days a week. Students enrolled in Buchanan Virtual School may accelerate at their own pace.

This guide offers links to online resources related to the City of Buchanan, Michigan. Websites representing the city or any of its programs are appropriate for this category, as are those of industries, businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports teams or programs, and recreational opportunities within the city.


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