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Sumner, Michigan is a small settlement in southwest Sumner Township, in western Gratiot County, near the center of the Lower Peninsula.

As an unincorporated community in Michigan, Sumner doesn't have defined boundaries, but it is concentrated along West Saint Charles Road, between the Pine River and North Ferris Road and Pitt Road. North Ferris Road leads north-northwest from West Saint Charles Road. Carpenter Creek feeds into the Pine River just south of the community.

Elm Hall, the only other named community in the township, is less than five miles to the north.

Incorporated cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Sumner include Carson City, Ithaca, Alma, Stanton, Perrinton, McBride, St. Louis, Hubbardston, Edmore, Sheridan, Maple Rapids, Shepherd, Mt. Pleasant, Union, Breckenridge, and Ashley, while the unincorporated communities of Elm Hall, New Haven Center, Riverdale, Crystal, Elwell, and Sethton are within ten miles.

Sumner is a small residential community with very few commercial interests and nothing in the way of industry. The community is known locally for its annual Sumner Daze Festival, held at the Sumner Community Center and Sumner Centennial Park each August.

Attracted by its lumbering potential, European-Americans began coming into the township in the fall of 1854. An early settler, George S. Bell, acquired four hundred acres of land on which he opened a sawmill and a store. Subsequently, the community became known as Belltown.

A village site was laid out by George and William Stratton in 1868, and recorded as Estella on September 4 of that year. When a post office was established in 1869, the office was named Sumner, and the town soon took that name.

The first school building in Sumner was a small log schoolhouse built along Ferris Road in 1855. This building, and several subsequent school buildings, were destroyed by fire. A new school building, completed in 1949, now serves as the Sumner Community Center. The last school in Sumner was closed in 1981 after which all K-12 grades were annexed to the Ithaca Schools. Today, Sumner students attend either Alma Public Schools or Ithaca Public Schools.

In 1863, James Hicks opened the Sumner Hotel on the corner of Main Street and Ferris Road. It included a large dining area and sleeping rooms to serve those working in the lumbering industries. A saloon was added in 1904. As there were objections to the saloon, a large fence was constructed to separate it from the nearby school. The hotel later became a private residence but was vacant when it was destroyed by fire in 1924.

Dr. Frederick Graham, the community's only doctor, arrived in 1891, serving the community until he moved to Alma in 1917.

Sumner once had four churches, although only three remain today.

Shortly after its Centennial celebration in 1968, the Centennial Committee acquired land between the Pine River, west of Sumner, and the race that ran north along Ferris Road, which they developed into Sumner Centennial Park, which has hosted several reunions and other events.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is the community of Sumner, Michigan. Online resources for governmental bodies within the community, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities, are appropriate for this category, although Sumner has few of these.



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