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Situated near the center of Crockery Township in northern Ottawa County, Nunica, Michigan is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP).

As an unincorporated community, Nunica has no official boundaries but, for the purpose of the US census, there are CDP boundaries.

Nunica is located north of I-96, from its intersection with Apple Drive and State Road, which forms its northern boundaries. Crockery Creek and another unnamed stream form the CDP's eastern boundary.

M-231 joins I-96 in the southwest portion of the CDP, where it intersects M-104 (Cleveland Street). Maple Island Road, also known as 112th Avenue, becomes Main Street within the CDP.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Nunica include Fruitport, Spring Lake, Coopersville, Ferrysburg, Grand Haven, Ravenna, Norton Shores, Roosevelt Park, Muskegon, Walker, and North Muskegon, while the unincorporated community of Robinson is just over seven miles away.

Nunica had a population of 351 at the time of the 2020 census. By contrast, the village had a population of about eight thousand in 1920.

Prior to its settlement by European-Americans, the region was inhabited by the Ottawa people for centuries. Although the French-Canadian explorers, Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette, came through the region in the mid-1600s, it would be another couple of centuries before there was any appreciable European or European-American settlement.

The first recorded European-American settler was was Manley Patchin, who came in 1836. He was followed by William Hathaway Jr. and Josephus Hathaway, who came in 1838. Other settlers migrated to the area slowly, and Crockery Township was organized in 1845. Known as Judge Hathaway, William Hathaway was elected the first supervisor of the new township, while he and Manley Patchin served as justices of the peace.

For years, they lived among the Ottawa people, with whom they were on good terms. When the first settlers arrived, there were no roads, and swamps and ravines made travel difficult except on foot. Settlement of the area was slow, and early settlers were engaged in forestry and, once the land was cleared, subsistence farming. The Hathaways operated a shingle mill, and the Patchin's logged pine timber.

The village was originally known as Crockery Creek. A post office was established under that name on February 7, 1848, with William Hathaway Jr. as postmaster. The post office name was changed to Nunica on January 8, 1859, the name being a derivative of an Ottawa word for clay earth, from which they made pottery. This was also the reason for its original name of Crockery Creek.

Settlement began in earnest after zinc was discovered in Crockery Creek in 1858, and Nunica was incorporated as a town in 1872. By 1880, Nunica had a population of about one thousand, and settlement was assisted when the Grand Haven-Detroit branch of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad came through. By 1920, the town had reached a peak population of about eight thousand.

By 1924, zinc ore resources were depleted. This, and an influenza outbreak that killed about eight hundred people in 1927, led to a sharp decline in Nunica's population. Then, in 1935, nearly one-third of the town was destroyed by a fire that began when the train station was struck by lightning. The depot was never rebuilt, nor were other landmarks, such as the Nunica Conservatory for Music and Fine Arts, and the Nunica Casino. Besides the buildings that were lost, a large amount of farmland was also destroyed.

By 1950, the town had a population of only about a thousand people, and its current population is about three hundred and fifty. When Michigan required towns to reincorporate either as cities or as villages, Nunica became unincorporated in 1957, and is currently governed by the township.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the unincorporated community of Nunica, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing local schools, places of worship, organizations, businesses, industries, or recreational opportunities.



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