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

The Village of Shepherd, Michigan is in southeastern Isabella County, and entirely surrounded by Coe Township.

The chief routes to and from the village are South Federal Road, Blanchard Road (Wright Avenue), and Shepherd Road (Chippewa Street). The north-south US-127 is just east of the village limits, and accessed from Blanchard Road.

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Shepherd include Mt. Pleasant, Alma, St. Louis, Rosebush, Breckenridge, Ithaca, Coleman, Clare, Lake Isabella, and Edmore, while the unincorporated communities of Coe and Forest Hill are within ten miles of the village.

The Little Salt River flows through the eastern part of the village.

With a population of under 1,500, Shepherd is a residential community with an agricultural base. Nearly half of the village land area is classified residential or vacant residential, while close to forty percent is village-owned property, school property, church property, or street right-of-ways, and woodland makes up nearly ten percent of the village.

When European-American settlers arrived in the area in the 1850s, the community was first known as Salt River. It was the first settlement in Isabella County and, at that time, the land was covered with forests. The nearest post offices were in Maple River and St. Johns, about forty miles away.

A post office was established as Salt River on August 8, 1857, with William R. Robbins as postmaster. Elijah Moore platted the village of Salt River on September 5, 1866. George W. Miller platted an additional three blocks to Salt River in 1867.

By the 1870s, Salt River had a population of about three hundred, and supported three stores, a hotel, two blacksmith shops, a boot and shoe shop, a newspaper, a schoolhouse, a flour mill, a sawmill, a cheese factory, three doctor's offices, and three law offices.

Robert Shepherd was an early settler in the area. His son, Isaac N. Shepherd, began buying up land at fifty cents an acre. He built a farmhouse west of the river, near the current location of the village park. In 1885, Isaac Shepherd platted the village of Shepherd on land that he owned near the river.

The Mount Pleasant & Northern Railroad came through in 1885, opening a depot on land supplied by Mr. Shepherd. For a time, the depot was named Shepherd while the post office was named Salt River. However, as chief businesses began moving to be nearer the railroad, the post office was also moved and renamed Shepherd on March 8, 1887. Many of the former buildings in Salt River were destroyed by a fire that year, but the current-day village envelops the old Salt River site.

Although the Ann Arbor Railroad had intended to bypass Shepherd, the company later acquired the track and Shepherd depot.

By 1895, Shepherd had added an iron foundry, roller mill, several sawmills, a grain elevator, two drug stores, four hotels, a creamery, and a new school.

Businesses supporting the forest industry fell by the wayside after the forests were depleted, and agriculture became the main industry.

Oil was discovered in the area in the late 1920s and early 1930s, and several landowners became oil rich.

Today, Wright Avenue is the main shopping district in Shepherd, and it includes most of the traditional businesses, such as a bank, drug store, laundromat, real estate office, doctor's offices, restaurants, and a weekly newspaper.

The Maple Syrup Festival has been a major annual event since 1958, attracting people from throughout the region during the last weekend in April.

This part of our guide focuses on the village of Shepherd, Michigan. Online resources representing the municipal government, local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities, are appropriate for this category.



Recommended Resources

Search for Shepherd on Google or Bing