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The city of Holland situated in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula close to Lake Macatawa. It is located in two counties: Ottawa, where it is the largest city, and Allegan County.

Neighborhoods in Holland include Downtown, the Historic District, Holland Heights, Hope, Maplewood, Montello Park, Rosa Parks Green, South End, Washington Square, and Westside.

Characterized by its Dutch heritage, which is not only an integral part of the city's history, but the local economy as well, Holland hosts the Tulip Time Festival each May, and there are several Dutch-themed attractions and events within the city. Downtown Holland is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and De Zwaan, a 250-year-old Dutch windmill, is located on Windmill Island.

In 1847, Dutch Calvinist separatists, led by an immigrant pastor from the Netherlands named Albertus Christian Raalte settled in the area. About sixty men, women, and children followed VanRaalte on what was to be a 47-day trek from Rotterdam to New York in order to buy land in Wisconsin. As luck would have it, they were delayed in Detroit due to weather conditions. While in Detroit. They heard about land available in Michigan and they set out to scout the area. They ended their trek on February 9, 1847, on the banks of Black Lake, which is now called Lake Macatawa.

The settlers, along with hundreds who followed them from the Netherlands, built sheds from the trees they felled in the dense forest nearby and sold what was left. It turned out to be a difficult place to live as the colonists clashed with the local indigenous people called the Ottawa. The new settlers soon bought the land from them, and most of their Ottawa neighbors moved out.

A smallpox epidemic swept through Michigan in 1848 just as the population of the region began to experience a population explosion, many of the settlers left their farms in an eclectic fleet of canoes and boats, following Reverend George Smith and Chief Peter Waukazoo to the north of Holland. There, they established another colony, which they named Waukazooville in honor of Chief Waukazoo. The name of the town would one day be changed to Northport.

Meanwhile, back in Holland, Michigan, after VanRaalte found he could not get the government to send aid to help the settlers prepare an aqueduct channel to Lake Michigan, so they picked up shovels and picks and did it themselves. Additionally, they cleared a block of land in the middle of the colony which was to be the market square. It stands today as Centennial Park.

In 1867, Holland was incorporated as a city, and in 1871, two rail spurs served the settlement, and the residents looked forward to economic growth. But the new city experienced a major fire that burned for two full days beginning on October 8, 1871, at the same time the Great Chicago Fire as well as the Peshtigo Fire, which is to this date the most deadly fire in the world. Slowly, Holland rebuilt and strengthened with help from neighboring towns, and in the next few years, the townspeople had the luxury of electrical service, a public water service, a telephone system, and free mail delivery and pickup provided by Holland.

By the beginning of the 20th Century Holland’s economy was booming, with a first-rate transportation system, which allowed industrial growth, including lumber-related industries, furniture manufacturing, and an agricultural market. As the 20th century dawned, there were notable businesses such as the Heinz Pickle factory and the Holland Furnace Company, In the 1920s, thousands of tourists came to the area to enjoy resorts that thrived at Ottawa Beach and Macatawa Park despite the Ottawa Beach Hotel burning to the ground in November 1923.

In 1927, a biology teacher at Holland High had the idea to import tulips from the Netherlands to beautify the city. The tulips arrived in 1928 and in 1930, word went out about the first Tulip Time festival, and 50,000 tourists arrived to enjoy it.

Holland is frequently referred to as the “City of Churches” due to the fact that there are more than 170 churches there. Most of these churches belong to two denominations: Christian Reformed Church in North America and Reformed Church in America. Additionally, Holland is the city that housed Calvary Reformed Church, the church that revived and popularized the “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets and pins in 1989.

Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, both of which are Reformed Church in America, are situated in Holland. It is a sister city to Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico.

The chief routes through the city are I-196, Business I-196, US-31, and M-40.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Holland, Michigan. Topics related to the city itself, or to any businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, or sporting and recreational opportunities within the city are appropriate for this category.


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