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Surrounded by Caledonia Township, the village of Caledonia is in the southwestern portion of the township, in southern Kent County.

The main route through Caledonia is M-37, which forms the eastern boundary of the village, and connects with the City of Grand Rapids about fifteen north, and south about six miles to the Village of Middleville. Kentwood is 9.4 miles northwest.

Emmons Lake and Caledonia Lakeside Park are in the center of the village.

The history of the village is closely tied to that of the township, and the arrival of the first European-American settlers. Acknowledged as the first permanent settler, Asahel Kent came from Ohio with his wife and young daughter in 1838 to settle on a piece of land that is now at the intersection of Whitneyville Avenue and 100th Street, near the Thornapple River, west of the current townsite.

As this location was, at that time, on the main route from Battle Creek and Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids, Kent established an inn, which was known as Kent House, as well as the Oak Grove Inn. Kent died in 1840 and, a couple of years later, his widow married Peter McNaughton. Together, they operated the tavern, which became known as McNaughton's. On August 15, 1843, a post office was established at McNaughton's Tavern, with McNaughton as postmaster.

When the McNaughton's sold the tavern and land to Warren Streeter in 1860, the post office was moved to Oscar B. Barber's farm, a half-mile north, and its name was changed to Caledonia. Barber served as postmaster until the office was closed on April 30, 1877.

Meanwhile, the Grand Valley Railroad completed a line connecting Jackson and Grand Rapids, which later became the Michigan Central Railroad. The railroad bypassed Caledonia, running several miles west of the original post office, through farmland owned by David Kinsey, a Canadian who had come with his brother Isaac in 1855. In August of 1870, Kinsey platted the northern section of his farm as a village which became known as Caledonia Station, as it was a stop on the Michigan Central Railroad line. Caledonia Station was incorporated as a village on January 21, 1888. The village name was shortened to Caledonia on July 20, 1894.

Although not within the boundaries of the current Village of Caledonia, the original Caledonia townsite was known as East Caledonia for several years.

Service on the railroad line ended in 1983 and the old rail line now serves as the Paul Henry Thornapple Trail, which is being developed as a multi-use recreation trail from Grand Rapids to Vermontville, Michigan.

Caledonia Community Schools, headquartered in Caledonia, serves the village and the surrounding region, which includes portions of Kent, Allegan, and Barry counties. The public school district operates Duncan Lake Early Childhood Center, Paris Ridge Elementary School, Kettle Lake Elementary School, Emmons Lake Elementary School, Dutton Elementary School, Caledonia Elementary School, Kraft Meadows Middle School, Duncan Lake Middle School, and Caledonia High School. There are also two Christian schools in Caledonia: Dutton Christian School and Faith Reformed Christian School.

While still a small town, the population of Caledonia has grown significantly since 1980, breaking one thousand in 2000, and currently close to two thousand.

The focus of this guide is on the Village of Caledonia, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the village itself, as well as any industries, businesses, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the village or served by the Caledonia post office.


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