Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Plainwell

Plainwell, Michigan is located on the eastern edge of Allegan County, in the southeast quadrant.

The city is surrounded by Gun Plain Charter Township, except for a small portion bordering Otsego Township.

The Kalamazoo River flows through the center of the city, and the river and the Plainwell Mill Race form an island around the original area of the town. The city is known as "the island city" because it is necessary to cross a bridge in order to enter the downtown district from any direction.

The chief route through Plainwell is US-131, which runs largely north-south through the western portion of the city. M-89 (Allegan Street, East Bridge Street) intersects US-131 and passes through the downtown district. Other routes include Riverview Drive (Sherwood Avenue), and 10th Street (Main Street). Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Plainwell include Otsego, Martin, Parchment, Richland, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Wayland, Gobles, Hopkins, Galesburg, Augusta, Bloomingdale, Portage, Middleville, and Mattawan.

Except for a decline in 1900, while the timber industry was in decline, Plainwell has enjoyed population increases each census year until 2000, but it has declined slightly each decade since. Its peak population was 4,057 in 1990, and its current population is just under 3,800.

Public K-12 students in Plainwell are served by the Plainwell School District, which operates Cooper Elementary School, Gilkey Elementary School, Starr Elementary School, Plainwell Middle School, Plainwell High School, and Renaissance High School.

The Plainwell area was settled soon after Allegan County was organized. The first European-American landowners in the area that was to become Plainwell were Sylvester Sibley, Samuel C. Wells, and Hull Sherwood, who acquired land in the summer of 1831, although the first settler was Dr. Cyrenius Thompson, who came to the area in 1831.

Plainwell was a stagecoach stop on the route between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids. Later, the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was built along the same route.

As others came, a post office was established on April 10, 1833, with Dr. Thompson as the postmaster. The community was built along the Plan Road, which is now Main Street, that was built between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids in 1852.

Henry Wellever bought an acre of land at the junction between what is now Allegan and Main streets. In the fall of 1853, Mr. Wellever began construction on a tavern known as the Plainwell House. He didn't stay long, though. He sold the land and the unfinished building to Orson D. Dunham, who had also purchased forty acres surrounding the Wellever tract. The tavern was opened in July of 1854, although it was dismantled in 1891. Ira Chichester was enlisted to plat and record the village site in April of 1863, and Plainwell was incorporated as a village in 1869, becoming a city in 1934. Plainwell was named for the township, which was then known as Plainwell Township, although the township was renamed Gun Plain Township in 1845.

The mill race was built across a bend in the Kalamazoo River in 1856, surrounding the village with water and providing power for the Michigan Paper Company, which later became Plainwell Paper Company, and a major employer from 1887 to 2000.

The focus of this part of our guide is on the city of Plainwell, Michigan. Appropriate topics for this category include online resources pertaining to the municipality and any other governmental entities within the city, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


Faith & Spirituality

Property Sales & Rentals



Recommended Resources

Search for Plainwell on Google or Bing