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Situated in the central-south Lower Peninsula, the City of Coldwater, Michigan is the county seat of Branch County.

The core of Coldwater is in the center of Coldwater Township, in Branch County, although a non-contiguous section of the city to the north is in southern Girard Township. It includes a large facility operated by the Clemens Food Group.

The chief routes to and through the city are I-69, which runs north-south through the eastern portion of the city, where it connects with US-12 (Chicago Street), also known as Chicago Road, which continues east toward Hillsdale and west to Sturgis. BL-69 enters the city in the south-central portion and runs north to US-12. M-66 originates at Coldwater's western boundary and runs west to Three Rivers. Lesser routes include North Angola Road (South Clay Street), North Behnke Road, East Colon Road, Fillmore Road (Butters Avenue), Fiske Road, Garfield Road (Garfield Avenue), Jonesville Road, Lott Road, Marshall Road (Marshall Street), Michigan Road (Michigan Street), Sprague Road (Sprague Street), State Road, and Union City Road (Grand Street).

Quincy is 6.2 miles east of Coldwater, while Tekonsha is 11.1 miles to the north, Bronson is 11.8 miles to the southwest, and Union City is 15.3 miles north of the city.

The South Branch of the Coldwater River flows into Randall South Lake from the south, just west of the city limits, originating from Coldwater Lake. The Sauk River flows from the north, near Quincy, entering the northern portion of Randall South Lake. Cold Creek flows into Randall North Lake. The rivers and creeks combine to form a series of shallow, connected lakes on the west side of Coldwater.

When European-Americans first visited the area that was to become Coldwater, with an eye toward settlement, the land was inhabited by the Potawatomi people, who were not inclined to surrender the land. Although large numbers of pioneers passed by near the area, the presence of the Potawatomi deterred them from settling. However, with the defeat of the British in the War of 1812, and a renewed effort by the United States government to settle the area, the Potawatomi were persuaded to sell their rights to what is now Branch County, opening the region to European-American settlement, although the Potawatomi continued to inhabit the area for many years.

The land upon which Coldwater was built was a prairie, three miles long from east to west, and two miles wide. There were some oak and elm trees but, bordering the prairie were forests of beech, elm, walnut, and whitewood, and several lakes, rivers, and streams.

The first settlers came to trade with the Potawatomi, among them, Joseph Godfrey opened a trading post near the present location of downtown Coldwater in 1822, and a man by the name of Marantette opened another one in the area where Oak Grove Cemetery now is.

In 1830, Allen Tibbits and Joseph Hanchett acquired land, and laid out a townsite in 1832, naming it Lyons. The townsite ran from what is now Jefferson Street to Monroe Street, and from Church Street to Washington Street. By that time, there were only about fifty European-Americans in Branch County. Two brothers, William H. Cross, and Robert Cross, also came to the area in 1830, building homes in what is now the western portion of the city.

James B. Stewart acquired land and platted a village that he named Masonville, after Stevens T. Mason, the first governor of Michigan. In 1833, Masonville was renamed Coldwater, for the Coldwater River. On September 22, 1838, a post office was established in Coldwater, with Harvey Warner as postmaster. Incorporated as a village in 1837, Coldwater eventually absorbed Lyons and was designated as the county seat in 1842, becoming a city in 1861.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Coldwater, Michigan. Appropriate resources may include websites representing the city, as well as any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the city.


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