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Coral, Michigan is an unincorporated community in north Maple Valley Township, in the northwest section of Montcalm County.

The main routes to or through the community are North Bailey Road and West Kandaville Road, which intersect in the north-central part of the village, and Coral Road, which intersects with North Bailey Road in the southern part of the village. As an unincorporated community, there are no defined boundaries to the village, and the Coral post office serves most of northern Maple Valley Township, as well as parts of Pine Township to the east, and Winfield Township to the north.

The unincorporated community of Trufant is 5.6 miles to the southeast, while the village of Howard City is 6.2 miles northwest, Pierson is 7.6 miles southwest, Sand Lake is 9.8 miles southwest, Lakeview is 11.8 miles northeast, and Morley is 13.1 miles north of Coral. The city of Greenville is 20.4 miles south-southeast, and Stanton is 20.7 miles east.

European-American settlers began coming into Maple Valley Township in 1858, but the area that was to become Coral was first settled by the Reverend Charles Parker in 1861, who came from Ontario. He established a lumber camp and this, along with a sawmill built by Henry Stump, were the origins of the new settlement. The community that grew up around the mill became known as Stumptown, a reference not only to Mr. Stump but to the stumps that were left after the trees were felled.

In 1862, the Rev. Parker donated land for a school and a cemetery and, in that same year, he platted eighty acres of his land as a village, although it was never incorporated as such. In March 1869, a post office was established in Coral, with John Holcomb as postmaster. At this time, the community was named Coral, reportedly because it was easy to spell.

Clate Woods opened a store in 1868, becoming Coral's first merchant. The following year, Henry Cowden became the town's second merchant when he sold his farm and opened a store.

In 1869, the Detroit, Lansing, and Northern Railroad announced its intention to extend its line to Howard City. The Rev. Parker gave the railroad a right-of-way if the track were laid through Coral, and the railroad arrived in August of 1871, later becoming the Pere Marquette Railroad. A station was established in Coral. Over the years, a large number of potatoes and other produce were shipped out of the Coral station.

Potatoes weren't the only products shipped out of Coral by rail, however. The first logging done in Michigan by railroad was in Coral. A railroad was built with wooden rails, with steel strapped on top of it, ran from the north side of East Lake past the north side of the Methodist Church to Gravel Ridge. The sawmill and dryer were producing forty thousand feet of lumber a day, employing from forty to sixty men, until the pine in the area was depleted, and the mill removed by 1880.

Eventually, as roads were built, produce began to be shipped out by truck rather than by railroad, and its tracks were abandoned. In 1945, the tracks were removed.

The Rev. Parker sold all of his holdings in Michigan and moved to Oregon in May of 1880, settling in Independence, where he remained for the rest of his life.

In the early years of Coral, A.C. Fisher was delegated to have a cannon built. When it was completed, Fisher determined that the barrel was flawed, having a sand crack in it, and returned it. The shop agreed to bore it out to a larger bore, which is what Fisher had wanted in the first place. The Coral Cannon was used for celebrations for years and is now mounted in Memorial Park. In the same park is a memorial that was erected to honor those who died in the service of their country during the Civil War, Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

The Coral Fire Department was formed around 1920. Operated as a volunteer fire department, it is sometimes known as the Maple Valley Township Fire Department. The first school in Coral was opened in a log cabin in 1860. Elizabeth Parker was the teacher. The first churches were the Methodist Episcopal Church (1861), the Congregational Church of Coral (1872), and the Free Methodist Church (the late 1800s or early 1900s).

Today, Coral is largely agricultural, residential, and a summer tourist community, with several nearby lakes.

The focus of this guide is on the unincorporated community of Coral, Michigan. Online resources for local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities are appropriate.

 

 

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