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

Surrounded by Litchfield Township, the city of Litchfield is in the northwest segment of Hillsdale County, in the south-central Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

The Saint Joseph River flows through the city, near the downtown area.

The chief routes through the city are M-99 (Homer Road, Marshall Street), Litchfield Road (Saint Joe Street), and M-49 (Anderson Road), which begins in downtown Litchfield. Mosherville Road forms a portion of the city's northern boundary, while Herring Road forms most of its southern boundaries, except for a small section that extends further south.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Litchfield include Allen, Jonesville, Homer, Quincy, Hillsdale, Hanover, North Adams, Reading, Albion, Concord, Tekonsha, Coldwater, and Montgomery.

One of the first European-Americans traveling through the area was Andrew K. Bushnell, a 22-year-old New Yorker, who later acquired land in Litchfield. It is believed that the area that was to become Litchfield was first settled by Samuel Riblet and Henry Stevens in 1834. A couple of years later, in 1836, the townsite was platted by Hervey and David Lewis Smith, and recorded as Smithville. A post office was established on February 3, 1837, with Hervey Smith as postmaster. Although the post office was first named Columbus, it was renamed Litchfield on August 12, 1837, for the Connecticut hometown of some of its early settlers.

During the 1850s, the area began to transition from its pioneer period to an agricultural economy. By that time, the community has about seventy-five houses, although some of its early residents traveled west in response to the California Gold Rush. A resident, Simon Hadley, struck gold and returned to Litchfield, building a home on Herring Road. In 1853, a four-room school building was built, replacing a small school that had been built in 1837. Each room housed three grades.

Most of the town's older boys and young men served for the Union Army during the American Civil War, and forty-four of them lost their lives during the conflict.

In 1872, the Northern Central Michigan Railroad extended its line through Litchfield, opening a station in the community. As was the case in several other communities, the railroad brought growth to the community, and the village was incorporated on March 12, 1877.

Litchfield's first library opened in the 1870s, telephone lines came through in 1885, and the village had kerosene street lamps by 1889. Between 1903 and 1904, the village hall and jail were moved to the corner of Jonesville and Stock Streets, and the jail building was replaced in late 1904.

Litchfield was incorporated as a city in 1970, its city charter approved on July 9.

Litchfield first appeared on a census roll in 1880, with a population of 1,029. However, by 1890, it had dropped to 601, remaining under a thousand until 1970. It currently has a population of just over 1,300.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the Hillsdale County city of Litchfield, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the municipal government, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports activities, and recreational opportunities.



Recommended Resources

Search for Litchfield on Google or Bing