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Situated in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, the village of Mendon is in the northern portion of St. Joseph County, and surrounded by Mendon Township.

The St. Joseph River flows through the southern part of the town, and serves as the village's southern border except for a portion along Nottawa Road that extends across the river to Simpson Road. Little Portage Creek enters the village in the north and empties into the St. Joseph at the southern village limits.

The chief routes to and from the city are M-60 (Main Street) and Nottawa Road (Nottawa Street), which intersect just north of the river in the eastern portion of the village. Other routes include Buchner Road, Kirby Road, and Simpson Road.

Other cities and villages within twenty miles of Mendon include Centreville, Colon, Vicksburg, Three Rivers, Athens, Sherwood, Schoolcraft, Sturgis, Burr Oak, Constantine, Union City, Portage, and White Pigeon.

Mendon has never been a large town. First appearing on a census roll in 1860 with a population of 409, the town had grown to 854 by 1880, but declined to 625 by 1920. Except for a slight decline in 1940, it then grew each decade until 1980, to a peak population of 951, but has declined slightly each decade since. Its current population is about 850.

The first European settlers in the area along the St. Joseph River were French pioneers from Quebec and France. They traded and lived among the Potawatomi and other Algonquian-speaking tribes in the region. The British rarely visited the area during the Colonial era. After the United States acquired the territory after the American Revolution, European-American settlers began to enter the Lower Peninsula, mostly from the Eastern states, beginning in the early 1800s.

The first recorded European-American settler in the area that was to become Mendon Township was Gabriel Godfrey, who came in 1829. Francois Moutan came in 1831. Moses Taft came from Mendon, Massachusetts in 1835, and Benjamin P. House came from Mendon, New York in 1837, and the township was named for their separate hometowns in 1844.

Leander Meatha was the first known settler in the area that was to become the village of Mendon. He came with his family in 1834, although some accounts render his last name as Metty. He and Patrick Marantette platted the townsite in 1845, and a post office was established on December 17, 1858, with William Pollett as the first postmaster. The Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad extended its tracks between Fort Wayne, Indiana and Mackinaw City, Michigan, establishing a station in Mendon. Mendon was incorporated as a village in 1875.

The Mendon Riverfest is held at Reed River Park on the banks of the St. Joseph River each year. The festival was first held in 1987 at the historic Wakeman House but was relocated in 1989, as the festival had become too large for the original venue.

The Mendon Kiwanis Showboat is held at the Mendon Elementary auditorium each November. Originally a minstrel show, it now focuses on local music, talent, and comedy, although its content changes from year to year.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the small village of Mendon, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the village government, any other governments based in the village, and any businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports programs or facilities, and recreational opportunities in Mendon.



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