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Harbert, Michigan is in Chikaming Township, Berrien County, which is in the southwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula.

As an unincorporated community, Harbert doesn't have defined boundaries, but it is in the area of Red Arrow Highway and Harbert Road, and extending mostly west and northwest from there.

For the purpose of the census, the US government has established a census-designated place known as the Shorewood-Tower Hills-Harbert CDP, which includes the unincorporated communities of Bethany Beach, Birchwood, Harbert, Hazelhurst, Sawyer, Shorewood Hills, and Tower Hill Shorelands, all of which are two miles from one another. However, since at least a couple of these communities - Harbert and Sawyer - have their own post office addresses and identities separate from the CDP, we. have elected to categorize them as separate communities when sufficient online resources exist to justify separate categories.

For the purpose of categorization, we will list resources pertaining to the south and southwestern part of the CDP, including Birchwood, Harbert, and Hazelhurst, in this category while the north and northeastern portions of the CDP will be covered in the Sawyer category. When and if there are enough online resources to warrant separate categories, each community will be listed in its own category.

Birchwood is a housing development northeast of Harbert and Hazelhurst, along Red Arrow Highway and Parkway Drive.

Homes along Three Oaks Road and Old M-11 are just east of Birchwood, but some maps indicate that Harbert is situated in this area, although the Harbert post office and larger settlement area are more than a mile southwest of there, and southwest of Hazelhurst.

The origins of Hazelhurst were as a private cottage community founded in 1908 and operated by the Prairie Club, a non-profit volunteer organization based in Chicago. Still in operation, Hazelhurst Camp is northeast of Harbert and considered to be a part of Harbert. Hazelhurst Camp is a 60-acre forested property extending west from its primary location on Red Arrow Highway and Spring Bend Court, to include 550-feet of beachfront on Lake Michigan. Still a private club, its amenities include a tennis court, on-site library, a Junior Clubhouse, and the Red Barn, where members gather for meetings and other events. Available only to members, there are three rental facilities in Hazelhurst: the Farmhouse, the Family Cottage, and Buena Vista.

Once the home of the poet Carl Sandburg, Harbert is largely a resort community, featuring art galleries, antique shops, restaurants, and other commercial businesses, but not much in the way of industry.

Like many Michigan communities, Harbert began as a railroad town. Although the area was barren and sandy, a small swamp kept vegetation green throughout the season, so it was first known as Greenbush. John Glavin, an engineer on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad, determined that the land would be affordable. Looking for a new career, he acquired land there in the 1850s, founding the community.

However, when the Chicago & Western Michigan (Pere Marquette) Railroad established a station there in 1889, it was renamed Harbert, for a Chicago industrialist. On May 13, 1889, a post office was established, with Wilson Collins as postmaster. He was succeeded by G.B. Sheler, a storekeeper, in 1890.

Although originally barren, orchards and vineyards did well, and continue to thrive in Harbert today. The town included a pickle factory for several years, its products shipped to Chicago and Detroit by rail. Harbert also had a pier to support Lake Michigan cargo.

Besides the other community within the Shorewood-Tower Hills-Harbert CDP, other unincorporated communities within ten miles of Harbert include New Troy, Lakeside, Union Pier, and Glendora. Michigan cities and villages within twenty miles are Three Oaks, Bridgman, Baroda, New Buffalo, Stevensville, Buchanan, Galien, Shoreham, Grand Beach, Michiana, Berrien Springs, St. Joseph, and Benton Harbor. The Indiana towns of Michiana Shores and Long Beach are also within twenty miles of Harbert.

The focus of this category is on the unincorporated communities of Harbert, Birchwood, and Hazelhurst. Businesses, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within this area are appropriate for this category.

 

 

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