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Surrounded by Galien Township, the village of Galien is in Berrien County, in the southwest region of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, near the Indiana border.

The chief route through the village is US-12, also known as the Pulaski Highway, which runs east-west through the southern part of the village, forming a small portion of its southern border. Cleveland Avenue runs north-south through the center of the village. Nearby Michigan cities and villages include Three Oaks, Buchanan, New Buffalo, Baroda, Bridgman, Niles, Berrien Springs, Grand Beach, and Michiana, while the Indiana localities of Hudson Lake, New Carlisle, Birchim, and Hesston are within twenty miles of Galien.

Pronounced guh-LEEN, the village first appeared on a census report in 1880, with a population of 413 and, over the years, its median population is 553. With a peak population of 750 in 1960, there were 549 people in the village at the time of the 2010 census. Although it was not part of an official census report, there were three hundred people in Galien in 1871.

While Galien is not a large town, it includes several businesses in its Industrial Park, near US-12, and along Main Street. Additionally, the village is near enough to several larger cities that residents can comfortably commute.

Although he was not its first settler, George A. Blakeslee is recognized as Galien's founder. A native of New York, Blakeslee moved to Wisconsin and then to Illinois, where he invested in an auto manufacturing company. In 1853, he sold his stock for three hundred acres of land and a sawmill in Galien. The following year, he opened the first general store in the area and became the town's first postmaster on June 9, 1856, a position he retained until 1888. Blakeslee was also elected village president, justice of the peace, and a member of the board of education. He was also appointed the World Bishop of the Latter Day Saints Church.

In 1861, Blakeslee platted the village, naming it for the Galien River, which is north and east of the village, and which had itself been named for René Bréhant de Galinée, a member of the Catholic Sulpician Order, explorer, and missionary to Native Americans. The name of the river was changed to Galien in 1829. Blakeslee remained in Galien until his death at the age of sixty-four.

Galien was incorporated as a village in 1879.

Located on the Michigan Central Railroad's main line to Chicago, a Michigan Central branch line from Indiana came through en route north to Benton Harbor and Saint Joseph. The Benton Harbor & St. Joseph branch had a siding in Galien in 1911, with two passenger trains coming through, in both directions, every day but Sunday. By 1920, the American Railway Express Company also operated out of the Galien depot.

Shortly after it was incorporated, the village still had the sawmill, as well as lumber and manufacturing businesses, a steam mill, and a private school.

Like many Michigan towns, Galien had to contend with fire more than once during its history. In 1873, sixty-three buildings on the north side of the railroad tracks, and fifteen south of the tracks, were destroyed by fire. In 1895, two-thirds of its business district burned. Five businesses on the west side of Main Street, and north of the tracks, were burned in 1901 and, in July of 1971, another fire swept through downtown Galien. Assistance was provided by twelve fire departments and a hundred and twenty-five firefighters. Reportedly, the fire could be seen from ten miles away.

The focus of this category is on the village of Galien, Michigan. As such, appropriate topics include online resources for the village government, as well as any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, or sport and recreational programs or facilities.

 

 

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