Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Kingsley

Surrounded by Paradise Township, in lower Grand Traverse County, the village of Kingsley, Michigan is in the northwest Lower Peninsula.

The chief route through the village is M-113 (Main Street), which passes east-west through the center of town, forming a portion of its southern border to the east. Summit City Road forms most of the village's eastern border. Other routes to and from Kingsley include Garfield Road (Brownson Avenue), Kingsley Road, and Fenton Road (Fenton Street).

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Kingsley include Fife Lake, Buckley, Traverse City, Manton, Mesick, Thompsonville, Kalkaska, Copemish, and Lake Ann.

With the demise of the lumber industry in the early 1900s, Kingsley's population declined in 1920 and 1930, but has risen each census year since, including an increase of nearly a hundred percent in 2000. Its current population is just above 1,600.

The surrounding township is a mixture of farmland, woodlots, single-family homes, and state land. The village serves as a commercial center for the surrounding rural area, including its grocery store, auto parts store, auto repair shop, and gas station.

Grand Traverse County maintains a forty-acre recreation center within the village limits. Known as Civic Center South, the park includes a couple of tennis courts, a couple of basketball courts, two baseball/softball courts, two sand volleyball courts, three practice soccer fields, a regulation-sized soccer field, a paved walking track, a disc golf course, an archery range, ice skating rinkw, and a playground area. The park also hosts the annual Kingsley Heritage Days.

Other parks in Kingsley include Grove Park, a seven-acre wooded area just outside the downtown area, and Brownson Park, the oldest recreational area in Kingsley. Just under two and a half acres, the park includes two tennis courts, a picnic area, and a playground, as well as a splash pad that is used during the summer months.

Kingsley Area Schools has a community play area at its middle school complex. Used by students during school hours, it is used by citizens when school is not in session. The one-acre area includes three basketball courts, a softball/baseball field, and a playground area. The school also maintains a fifteen-acre complex with a practice football field, a football field, an asphalt track, and three baseball diamonds. The baseball diamonds are used almost exclusively by the Little League in the evenings during the summer, but are available for public uses at other times. However, while the practice football field is available to the public, the football field is restricted to high school use.

Kingsley Area Schools provides a K-12th-grade public school curriculum through Kingsley Elementary School, Kingsley Middle School, and Kingsley High School.

The Judson Kingsley and John Wall families were among the first settlers in the area that was to become Kingsley. They came in 1861, just before the start of the American Civil War. At that time, the area was accessed by trails through the woods, as there were no roads or highways yet. When the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad came through in 1871, it was built through Judson Kingsley's property, and Mr. Kingsley built the train station and opened the first post office there on February 14, 1873. It was originally known as Kingsley Station.

In 1874, Dr. Myron S. Brownson purchased a thousand acres adjacent to Mr. Wall's property. In 1876, Judson Kingsley platted the land west of the old Hotel DeFrance, in the southern part of the current village, naming it the Village of Kingsley. In 1882, Dr. Brownson platted the area around what is now Main Street as the Village of Paradise. However, in 1893, both plats were incorporated together as the Village of Kingsley.

Like many Michigan communities, the lumber industry and the railroads were driving factors in the village's early economy. By 1894, Kingsley had three hotels, three lumber mills, a livery barn, a flour mill, a blacksmith shop, several churches, a school, several stores, and the Brownson Sanitarium.

On July 4th of that year, most of the town burned while its residents were in Manton or Fife Lake attending Independence Day festivities. The town was largely rebuilt, but another fire destroyed a full block of its downtown district in 1900. With the collapse of the lumber industry, agriculture became a significant industry in and around Kingsley, although the railroad is still in operation today, although it has declined in importance.

Kingsley quickly rebounded as a commercial center and, as agriculture diminished, improvements in the conditions of the roads leading to and through the village improved, making it easier for people to live in Kingsley and work in Traverse City.



Recommended Resources

Search for Kingsley on Google or Bing