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Middleville, Michigan is a village surrounded by Thornapple Township, in the northwestern corner of Barry County.

Middleville is highly influenced by its proximity to the Grand Rapids Metro Region, as many of its newer residents have moved from the larger cities in the region to this smaller village that, nevertheless, allows them to commute to work in the city. M-6 and M-37 provide easy access to the Grand Rapids region and other metropolitan areas, such as Battle Creek, Kalamazoo, and Lansing. Additionally, several of the village's long-time or traditional residents are employed elsewhere.

while Middleville is home to several commercial businesses and service industries, heavy industry is sparse within the village itself.

Middleville also serves as a gateway to the Yankee Springs Recreation Area just south of the village. Operated by the state, Yankee Springs boasts more than four thousand acres that include nine lakes, with public access sites, campgrounds, historic sites, and a trail system for hiking and equine activities. In eastern Thornapple Township, the Middleville State Game Area offers opportunities for hunting, hiking, and snowmobiling. Still in development, the Paul Henry-Thornapple Trail is a rail-trail that will eventually connect to Kent Trails, yielding a 42-mile, multi-use recreation trail from Grand Rapids to Vermontville.

The Thornapple River flows through the center of the village, dividing it into two parts that are connected only by the Main Street Bridge and the Crane Road Bridge.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Middleville include Caledonia, Wayland, Hastings, Freeport, Kentwood, and East Grand Rapids.

Despite population decreases in the early 1900s, due in part to a decline in the significance of the timber industries, Middleville has enjoyed sustained growth since 1910, with the exception of slight declines in 1930 and 1980. Approaching 3,500, its current population is its peak population.

Although the area was inhabited by the Ottawa and Pottawatomi people for centuries, and French explorers and fur traders came through the region, Calvin G. Hill is acknowledged as the first European-American settler in the area that was to become Middleville.

In 1834, Hill purchased four hundred acres on both sides of the Thornapple River, moving to his property in 1834, and later opening a sawmill. Over the years, he served in several capacities at the township and county levels. He was the first supervisor of Thornapple Township, and became the first postmaster in Middleville on May 18, 1843, although an earlier post office was in operation nearby, as Thornapple, from May 6, 1839, until it was moved to Middleville in 1843. The postmaster of that earlier post office was Benjamin S. Dibble.

Hill and his sons, Albert C. Hill and Alpheus M. Hill, played a significant role in the development of both the township and village, including the platting of the townsite. Calvin Hill's younger brother, Elias Hill, and his family moved to Middleville in the spring of 1836.

Middleville took its name from its proximity to a Pottawatomi village known as Middle Village, near the border of Thornapple and Yankee Springs townships. Middleville was incorporated as a village on March 27, 1867.

Development of the village was stimulated when the Michigan Central Railroad built a station in Middleville in 1870, on its line that ran from Jackson to Grand Rapids. The ability to transport products to market helped the village to become a local hub for agricultural, commercial, and industrial business during the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Industrial activity continued to be an important sector of the village's economy past the middle of the century. However, most of its agricultural industries had waned by the early 1970s, and the railroad was abandoned in the early 1980s, after which its industries became smaller and more locally focused. However, Middleville is not without large industries. The Bradford White Corporation has a manufacturing plant in the village, and Middleville maintains an industrial park near its northern border.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the village of Middleville, Michigan. Appropriate resources for this category include websites representing the village government, other governmental bodies within the village, and local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports activities, and recreational opportunities.


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