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Located in south-central Newaygo County, the city of Newaygo, Michigan spans Garfield and Brooks townships, although it is administered autonomously.

The city is situated on both sides of the Muskegon River, which is its most prominent natural feature. The river is wide and smooth-flowing, although rapid in places, appropriate for a variety of water sports activities, including kayaking, canoeing, and paddle-boarding.

The downtown and riverfront region of Newaygo makes up about three hundred and fifty acres and includes the downtown neighborhood, the shopping district along M-37, the Michigan Agricultural Commodities (MAC) facilities, Riverfront Park, and large areas along the river.

Downtown Newaygo and the riverfront area is the center of the city's history, culture, and economy. Originally the driving force behind the city's logging and lumber industry, the river continues to be an important feature in Newaygo, although today it primarily supports recreation and watersports industries.

The chief route through the city is M-37 (State Road), which intersects M-82 near the city's southern border. Cities and villages within twenty miles of Newaygo include Grant, White Cloud, Fremont, Casnovia, Kent City, and Howard City, while the unincorporated communities of Brooks, Croton, and Brookside are within ten miles of the city.

The first land entries in the area that was to become Newaygo were made by Jack McBride and his employer, engaged in the lumber industry. McBride soon sold his land to George W. Walton who, in turn, sold it to John A. Brooks, who came to the area in 1836.

Mr. Brooks became the first postmaster when a post office was established on December 30, 1847. The post office was closed on November 17, 1851, but restored on January 8, 1852. The townsite was platted by Mr. Brooks and Sarrell Wood in 1854, and incorporated as a village in 1867.

The Newaygo Company built a dam across the Muskegon River and opened a mill that employed several people. Other small businesses were begun to support the mill operations, as well as its workers and their families.

Before long, the river was dredged to allow for rafts and steamboats between Newaygo and Muskegon. State roads and stagecoach routes were also built between the two towns. Then, in 1872, the Chicago & West Michigan (Pere Marquette) Railroad came through, opening a depot in Newaygo, connecting the community with Grand Rapids, Chicago, and Detroit.

The logging industry began to decline in the 1850s due to a depletion of area timber resources. With the land cleared, agriculture took the place of lumber, and cement production was conducted in Newaygo from 1890 to about 1930, as the geography of the river provided the marl beds for cement production and the river provided a mode of transport.

On the east bank of the Muskegon River, the early Big Red Mill served as a lumber mill, a cement plant, and as a grain storage facility over the years.

Since Newaygo first appeared on a census roll in 1870 with a population of 703, its population has declined only four times, in 1900, 1920, 1970, and 1980. Its current population is just below 2,500. Newaygo became a city on September 1, 1967.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Newaygo, Michigan. Appropriate resources for this category include websites representing the municipal government, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, sports facilities and programs, and recreational opportunities.



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