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Situated in Kalamazoo County, the Village of Schoolcraft, Michigan is surrounded by Schoolcraft Township on the north, east, and south, and by Prairie Ronde Township to the west.

US-131 runs north-south through the village, connecting it to Kalamazoo and I-94 to the north, and Three Rivers and Indiana Toll Road (I-80/90) to the south.

Cities and village within twenty-five miles of Schoolcraft include Vicksburg, Portage, Three Rivers, Mattawan, Kalamazoo, Lawton, Marcellus, Mendon, Parchment, Decatur, Centreville, Paw Paw, Constantine, Galesburg, Athens, Climax, White Pigeon, and Richland.

Schoolcraft features several historic homes on traditional parcels surrounding the rear portions of its historic downtown district, which is low-density residential. Residential neighborhoods further from the downtown core are less historic. Higher density residential areas are mostly northeast and southwest of the downtown district, and include some former single-family homes that have been turned into multi-family homes. There are also some apartment complexes.

Schoolcraft's commercial areas are, as might be expected, along US-131 (Grand Street), while high-intensity commercial uses, like fast-food restaurants and gas stations, are near the northern and southern boundaries of the village. The traditional downtown district extends for a couple of blocks, and includes mostly two-story historic buildings.

The village's industrial park. is north of Lyons Street and east of US-131 (Grand Street), on the north side, while other industrial areas are in the southeastern part of the village.

The K-12 population of Schoolcraft is served by Schoolcraft Community Schools, which operates Schoolcraft Elementary School and Schoolcraft Junior/Senior High School.

Schoolcraft was the first settlement in Kalamazoo County. The original village was platted in 1831, six years before Michigan became a state.

Aware that the government would be unable to pay veterans who fought in the War of 1812, President James Madison directed Edwin Tiffin, surveyor-general, to survey Michigan for homesteading. However, Tiffin returned with a report that described Michigan land as barren, sandy, swampy, and capable only of producing scrub oak. It was, he said, worthless for agricultural purposes.

Angered by these results, Lewis Cass, Governor of the Michigan Territory, commissioned his own survey, choosing Henry Rowe Schoolcraft to accompany him on the trip. Schoolcraft, a geographer, geologist, and ethnologist, brought his friend, Lucius Lyon, a surveyor, along.

The village was founded and platted by Lucius Lyon, who recorded the plat in 1831 and named it for his friend.

A post office was established as Prairie Ronde on June 28, 1830, with George Brown as postmaster, but it was renamed Schoolcraft on June 8, 1832, and incorporated as a village on January 4, 1866.

As one of Michigan's older communities, Schoolcraft features several interesting historical homes and other places. The Schoolcraft home of Dr. Nathan Thomas was a station on the Underground Railroad. A Quaker, Dr. Thomas had the home built in 1835 between 1840 and 1860, and it was used to shelter more than a thousand fugitive slaves on their way to Canada. Dr. Thomas built a new house in 1868, and the original building was moved to its current location on Cass Street, east of US-131.

Built in the early 1850s, the United Methodist Church building is on the corner of Grand Street and Clay Street. Constructed in 1896, the Schoolcraft Ladies Library building is listed on the state historical registry.

Situated just west of the village limits, along West. Eliza Street, Cooper's Island is a heavily wooded 23-acre parcel of land with mesic forest plants and trees. It is the remnant of the Big Island on Prairie Ronde, an island of forest in the midst of a prairie. It was the setting for James Fenimore Cooper's 1848 novel, The Oak Openings.

This portion of our guide is focused on the village of Schoolcraft, Michigan. Online resources representing the municipal government, local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities are appropriate for this category.



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