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Hillsdale, Michigan is the county seat of Hillsdale County, and its largest city.

Situated in the south-central portion of the Lower Peninsula, the chief routes through the city are West Bacon Road and Bunn Road, which intersect in the central-western portion of the city, as well as South Hillsdale Road. M-99 passes through the most well-developed part of the area, which includes many of the county offices and the Hillsdale College campus, which are outside of the city limits, but commonly considered part of the municipality. Only a small portion of the Hillsdale Municipal Airport is within the city boundaries.

Hillsdale is mostly in Hillsdale Township, extending north into Fayette Township, with a small portion extending south into Cambria Township.

Nearby cities and villages include Jonesville, Allen, North Adams, Reading, Litchfield, Quincy, Camden, Hanover, Montgomery, Coldwater, Concord, Hudson, and Addison.

Baw Beese Lake is in the southeastern part of the city, with the northwest portion of the lake within the city boundaries. Just outside the city, Boot Lake and Fourth Lake are clustered to the south of Baw Beese Lake. Other lakes that are fully or partially within the city limits include Barber Lake, King Lake, North Sand Lake, Middle Sand Lake, South Sand Lake, and Winona Lake, as well as some other smaller bodies of water.

The K-12 population of Hillsdale is served by Hillsdale Community Schools, which also serves parts of seven surrounding townships. There are also a few private and charter schools, a few campuses of Hillsdale County Intermediate Schools. There are also two colleges within, or just outside the city: Hillsdale College and Jackson College's LeTarte Center.

Hillsdale has nine city parks providing more than 375 acres of space, and several recreational facilities and programs. The city has its own police and fire departments, and a municipal library.

Prior to its settlement by European-Americans in the 1830s, the area was inhabited by a small Potawatomi tribe headed by Baw Beese, whose base was in the area of the large lake that is now named for him. The Potawatomi were said to have helped the earliest European-American settlers to survive the first few years. They lived in peace and, for the most part, with the respect of early white settlers, yet the tribe was forcibly removed in 1840 after a settler complained about them being on his land.

The first English-speaking settler was Jeremiah Arnold, who came from New York in 1834, living in a tent until he completed a log cabin on the site of what is now the county fairgrounds.

In 1843, the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad came through, and, for the next decade, Hillsdale was the last stop for pioneers heading west, until the railroad continued through to Coldwater and Chicago in 1853. Until the 1950s, Hillsdale was a railroad center, with as many as twenty-six passenger trains going in and out of the city each day. The railroads serving the city were known by various names, including the Erie and Kalamazoo, the Michigan Southern, the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern, the New York Central, and Indiana Northeastern Railroad, which is currently active in Hillsdale. Subsidiaries or branches, originally independent lines, included the Detroit, Hillsdale and Indiana, and the Fort Wayne, Jackson and Saginaw.

Founded in 1844, Hillsdale College was originally known as Michigan Central College, and in Spring Arbor. Largely due to the presence of the railroad, the college relocated to Hillsdale in 1853, taking its current name.

The county seat was first in Jonesville. During a period of political strife between Jonesville and Hillsdale over the seat, it was moved to Osseo for a short time before settling in Hillsdale in 1843. The Hillsdale County Fair began in 1850, occupying the original plat for the city. Hillsdale was incorporated as a village in 1847 and became a city in 1869.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Hillsdale, Michigan. Appropriate topics include websites representing the city or any businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports teams or programs, or recreational activities.


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