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White Pigeon

Oldest Village in the State of Michigan
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Incorporated as a village in 1837, White Pigeon is the oldest incorporated village in the state and was an outpost of civilization when much of the rest of the area was undeveloped wilderness. In 1828 the county's first hotel opened its doors in White Pigeon and, in another county first, a stagecoach operated on Chicago Road in 1831 and 1832 traveling between Tecumseh, White Pigeon and Niles. 

 

The town was named after Potawatomi Indian Chief Wahbememe, whose name means White Pigeon. Legend says that while at a gathering of chiefs in Detroit, Wahbememe heard plans to attack the settlement. A friend to the settlers, the chief ran almost 150 miles to the settlement to warn them. After running that long distance he collapsed and soon died from exhaustion. His remains are buried in town, and the site is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

 

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Downtown White Pigeon is home to the United States Land Office - the oldest surviving U.S. Land office in the state. Between 1830 and 1834, settlers could purchase Michigan land out of the office for $1.25 an acre. The building is now a museum that is open during summer weekends.

 

Today, White Pigeon remains a small, primarily agricultural town. It is home to the Little River Railroad, a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoration, preservation and operation of historical railway equipment. It runs various excursion trains to Sturgis and Coldwater seasonally. White Pigeon Township boasts over 1,400 acres of lakes, rivers and streams. At nearly 700 acres, Klinger Lake is the largest body of water in the township. 

 

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SWMPC| 376 West Main Street Suite 130 | Benton Harbor, MI 49022-3651 | 269.925.1137