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The Village of Constantine, Michigan is in eastern Constantine Township, with a small portion of the village bordering on Florence Township. Situated in southwestern St. Joseph County, Constantine is about six miles from the Indiana border.

US-131 is just west of the village limits, briefly forming its boundary in the southwest, while Business US-131 runs through the center of the village. Other routes to or through the village include Centreville-Constantine Road, Constantine Road, Featherstone Road, Mintdale Road, Quarterline Road, Riverside Drive, and Youngs Prairie Road. White Pigeon is 4.3 miles south of Constantine, while Three Rivers is 8.2 north, Centreville is 9.5 miles northeast, Sturgis is 15.9 miles east, Vandalia is 15.9 miles northwest, and York, Indiana is 8.3 miles south of the village.

The Saint Joseph River separates the northwestern corner of Constantine, with only Washington Street connecting it with the rest of the village. The 55-4-mile Fawn River flows into the St. Joseph River in northern Constantine after entering the village in the east, then winding northwest and west to its confluence with the St. Joseph.

Constantine Township is largely rural and agricultural, and agribusiness is a staple of the village economy. Now owned by Bayer, Monsanto had a plant just south of the village, and Corteva Agriscience has facilities in southern Constantine.

The first home in the area was a cabin built by Judge William Meek, who came from Ohio in the summer of 1828 after buying some land along the southern banks of the St. Joseph River, near its confluence with the Fawn River, which was then known as Crooked Creek. His family came the following summer, and he started a sawmill, adding a gristmill in 1830.

The settlement that rose around his business, in what is now northern Constantine, was first known as Meek's Mill. Surnames of other early families were Arnold, Bonebright, Driggs, Fitch, and Hamilton. Born in 1830, Henry Bonebright was the first child born in the settlement, and the first marriage was between Elliott Woods and Eliza Meeks that same year.

Niles F. Smith, a lawyer and businessman, proposed that the name of the village be changed to Constantine, and this was approved in 1835. Smith was instrumental in forming the Constantine North Addition Land Company to promote business and land sales in the area. A post office was established in Constantine on January 15, 1836, with John S. Barry, who had opened a store there in 1834, as its first postmaster. Barry later served as the fourth and eighth governor of Michigan. Constantine was incorporated as a village in 1837.

River trade on the St. Joseph was going strong by 1839. Judge Joseph R. Williams began building a flour mill in Constantine, in partnership with George Howland and Daniel Webster, the famous orator, but his partners soon withdrew from the business, leaving it to Williams, who began operations at his mill in 1841, buying his water power from Judge Meek. The mill was very productive, shipping flour to distant markets, and growing his business into a large mercantile trade.

A steamboat business owned by Judge Williams and Governor Barry operated in Constantine from 1843 to 1851, and including a warehouse on piles on the river to facilitate easy loading and unloading. By 1853, the railroads put an end to lucrative river navigation, and the warehouse was moved to the river bank. In 1903, the Harvey House was built on the foundation of the warehouse and is today a historic landmark.

The Kalamazoo and White Pigeon Railroad, a shortline railway from Lansing to Jonesville, was completed to Constantine in 1852, extending its tracks as far as Three Rivers by 1856. Today, the village's industrial base is served, in part, by the Grand Elk Railroad, which interchanges with several other railroads.

Except for a few decades of decline, the population of Constantine has mostly been growing since it first appeared on a census in 760. As of 2010, its peak population was 2,095 in 2000, although it is estimated that it will surpass that number in 2020.

The focus of this category is on the Village of Constantine, Michigan. Topics related to the village itself, as well as any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events within the village, are appropriate for this category.


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