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Situated about halfway between Chicago and Detroit, the City of Portage, Michigan abuts Kalamazoo to the north.

Other cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Portage include Schoolcraft, Vicksburg, Parchment, Mattawan, Galesburg, Richland, Lawton, Climax, Augusta, Three Rivers, Paw Paw, Mendon, Marcellus, Springfield, Athens, and Gobles.

The chief routes to and from the city are I-94, US-131, and Portage Road.

Portage Creek, for which the city was named, winds through several parts of the city, and there are several lakes and other bodies of water in Portage, particularly in the south. These include Austin Lake, West Lake, and Upjohn Pond, while portions of Gourdneck Lake, Long Lake, Sugarloaf Lake, and Little Sugarloaf Lake are in Portage.

Since Portage first appeared on a census roll in 1970, with a population of 33,590, its population has increased each decade, and was 48,891 at the time of the 2020 census.

Prior to its settlement by European-Americans, the Potawatomi people inhabited the area that is now Portage, and had a village near where the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport now stands.

The area was slow to be settled, largely due to the belief, taken from an early survey, that it was uninhabitable swampland. There were early settlers, however. Perhaps the first settler was a Mr. Herring, who built a cabin there in 1830. The following spring, Arad and Benjamin Cooley, and a man named Caleb Sweetland, came from New York, settling near what is now the intersection of Milham Road and Oakland Drive. That summer, the John E. Howard family came. The small community became known as Dry Prairie.

It turned out that the land around Portage was fertile, particularly for growing celery, and the community became famous for its celery agriculture, which is still grown on the surrounding land.

When a post office was opened on May 28, 1836, with Mr. Howard as postmaster, it was named Sweetland. However, on June 26, 1839, the post office was renamed Portage, with Henry M. Tuttle as postmaster. The post office was closed on December 21, 1846, but was restored from February 12, 1851, to July 31, 1906, and reopened on February 26, 1907.

In 1833, Moses Austin came, also from New York. He opened a tavern on the north shore of the lake that was named for him. Portage Township was organized at his tavern in 1838. From May 18, 1850, to August 15, 1853, a post office was in operation as Austin's Lake.

In 1848, construction of a plank road from Three Rivers to Kalamazoo began. This wooden road would pass through the center of Portage. This road helped to ease access to the community, and would later be improved, while other roads would be added, as well.

In 1945, Upjohn Pharmaceuticals acquired 1,500 acres along Portage Road, where they built a factory that would open in 1948. This complex would become a driving force for the community's incorporation as a city on December 31, 1963. Today, Pfizer's largest manufacturing facility is in Portage.

The focal point of this portion of our directory is on the city of Portage, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the municipal government, as well as any other governmental entities within the city, and local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


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