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Situated on the northwest banks of White Lake, the city of Montague is in northwest Muskegon County, in the west-central Lower Peninsula.

Montague is separated from the city of Whitehall by White Lake, and connected by the North Thompson Street Bridge. The White River and White Lake form the southeastern boundary of the city, and Lake Michigan is about four miles to the west. Other waterways within the city limits include Buttermilk Creek, Coon Creek, and Thomas Creek.

The chief routes through the city include Whitehall Road (Water Street) and Old Channel Trail. Other routes include Hancock Road (Hancock Street), Ochs Road (Cook Street), Post Road, and Sikkenga Road (Dicey Street). Eilers Road forms the city's northern boundary, and Whitbeck Road forms its western boundary. US-31 is northeast of the city, and Whitehall Road is also known as Business Highway 31.

Besides Whitehall, other cities and villages within twenty miles of Montague include Rothbury, Lakewood Club, New Era, Shelby, North Muskegon, and Muskegon.

The city is at the southern end of the Hart-Montague Trail, a linear state park that consists of a bicycle trail that extends from Montague to Hart. Following a former railroad line, it was one of the first Rails to Trails projects in Michigan. There is a bicycle rental shop in Montague.

The city is largely residential, and most of the homes in the city are single-family detached homes, with the largest concentration of homes in the central and southern part of the city, and along the lakeshore.

Commercial businesses in Montague are mostly concentrated in its Downtown Business District, which also houses the post office, city hall, library, and senior center. Additional commercial development can be found along the BR-31 corridor, between the downtown district and Montague Township. In this area are convenience stores, an ice cream shop, a motel, and some entertainment venues.

The City of Montague Industrial Park is in the central-western portion of the city, and most of the industry within the city is within the industrial park.

The Montague Area School District covers an area of about one hundred square miles. Although only about thirty percent of the district's students are city residents, all of its facilities are within the city limits.

The area upon which the city rests was inhabited by various Native American people for centuries before the European-Americans came, as the climate and the abundance of water made the area an attractive site for Native American settlements.

Although French-Canadian explorers, missionaries, and trappers came through the area long before, the first recorded European-American settler was Job Sargent, a veteran of the War of 1812, who was granted a quarter section of land in recognition of his service. He came to the area in 1817 and his son, Nathan, built a cabin there in 1850.

By 1850, Nathan Sargent and a man named Rogers owned the majority of the land upon which the city was founded. In that year, a lumber mill that became known as the Ferry Mill was constructed, and within a few years, there were more than fifteen mills in operation. In 1868, a large iron foundry began producing steam marine engines and machinery for area mills. Even today, the city is home to several foundries.

A post office was established on March 21, 1867, with Ophir R. Goodno as postmaster. The townsite was platted that same year. The post office and townsite were named for the Reverend William Montague Ferry, who, along with George E. Dowling, Joseph Heald, and Peter Dalton, platted the townsite. In 1862, Reverend Ferry's son, Noah, had mustered a group of men to serve in the Civil War. Major Noah Montague was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg. Several of Montague's streets were named in honor of Noah, as well as other heroes of the Civil War.

Montague was incorporated as a village in 1883, and as a city in 1935.

With the decline of Michigan's timber industry in the early 20th century, Montague's population declined for three decades. Largely due to its foundries and metal industries, the city has enjoyed several decades of increasing population, beginning in 1930, with slight recent declines. Its peak population was 2,407 in 2000, and its current population is slightly below that number.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the city of Montague, Michigan. Appropriate resources for this category include websites representing the municipal government or any other governmental bodies located within the city, as well as Montague businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports facilities, and programs, or recreational opportunities.


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