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Situated in south-central Holly Township, in the northwest corner of Oakland County, the Village of Holly, Michigan is bordered by Holly Township to the north, east, and west, and by Holly Township to the south.

There are seven named lakes (Bars Leak Lake, Belvins Lake, Bush Lake, Lake Arrowhead, Mauna Loa Lake, Simonson Lake, and Stiff's Mill Pond), as well as several other smaller bodies of water. The Shiawassee River flows through the southwestern section of the city, and several other lakes are in the immediately surrounding region.

The Holly Recreation Area is just east of the village, and Seven Lake State Park is west of the village. Other nearby outdoor recreation areas include Groveland Oaks County Park, Long Lake Park, and Rose Oaks County Park.

Holly Road enters the village in the north, where it is also known as North Saginaw Street, turning east to form East Maple Street in the lower part of the village. Grange Hall Road intersects Holly Road in the north. Other routes to and from the village include Academy Road, Milford Road, and Quick Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Holly include Fenton, Grand Blanc, Linden, Ortonville, Clarkston, Goodrich, Milford, Burton, and Flint.

WaterWorks Park in Holly is the starting point of the Shiawassee River Heritage Water Trail, which currently runs eighty-eight miles downstream to St. Charles, Michigan, and is extended each year as the Shiawassee River Water Trail Coalition coordinates with local governments to sign on.

Holly also hosts the annual Holly Dickens Festival and the Michigan Renaissance Festival. Fifty-three buildings within the village are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Battle Alley, between South Saginaw Street and South Broad Street, in downtown Holly, is one of the most historic streets in Michigan. It includes the Holly Hotel, where Carry Nation smashed up the saloon in 1908. The street received its name for the brawls that were common there.

Until recently, Holly had a small-town feel, despite its proximity to more urban areas. However, over the past few decades, agricultural properties have been developed, expanding single-family and multi-family residential areas within the village, while commercial areas have remained essentially the same, with the exception of a large industrial area on the south side of Grange Hall Road, on the east side of the village.

The first land purchase in the area that was to become Holly was by Nathan Herrick, who acquired land there in 1830. However, Ira C. Alger was the first permanent settler. He came in 1836, building a log cabin in the area where Stiff's Mill Pond and Broad Street are today. In the early 1840s, he constructed a dam on the Shiawassee River to power a sawmill and a grist mill, creating the community's first business district. When the Detroit & Milwaukee Railroad came through in 1855, Alger became the station agent for what was then named Algerville.

A post office was established on July 3, 1851, and named Holly Mills, with Marcus L. Young as the first postmaster. James G. Mitchell platted the village in 1855 and it was renamed Holly on December 7, 1861, probably for the shrub that still grows in the area. The Pierre Marquette Railroad completed its lines to Holly in 1862, making it one of the first Michigan communities with a railroad junction.

Although passengers and other products and materials were also transported, the railroad mostly brought white pine from the forests of northern Michigan to the Eastern United States.

Holly was incorporated in 1865. By then, its business district had concentrated in the Saginaw and Broad Street area, and included several hotels and stores, banks, a train depot, foundries, a coal yard, and a lumber yard. Soon, Martha Street was added to the village's business district. In 1885, Martha Street was renamed Battle Alley after a quarrel between members of a traveling circus and some local men turned into a brawl.

A the region's pine resources dwindled, other businesses took the place of the lumber industry. At one time, the H.J. Heinz Company, the Grinnell Brothers Piano Factory, the Hartz Spring Factory, and the Lane Fence Factory were located in Holly.

Employment in Holly today consists largely of management and professional occupations, sales, and other office jobs, although the production and transportation industries are also active.

Since Holly first appeared on a census report in 1860, the village has experienced only two periods of decline, including a 12.3% decline in 1890 and a 0.8% decline in 2010. Its population is projected to increase slightly in the 2020 census.

The focus of this guide is on the village of Holly, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the village, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events.


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