Vicksburg, MI 49097 | Kalamazoo County, Michigan
Vicksburg, Michigan is located approximately 13 miles south of Kalamazoo bounded by Brady, Pavilion, Schoolcraft and Wakeshma Townships in south Kalamazoo County. The Village is surrounded by fields of corn, soy, potatoes, sorgham, hay, wheat, pumpkins and melons separated by woodlands, animal farms, grass field airstrips and numerous lakes and streams all of which have played an important role in Vicksburg's development.
The Village of Vicksburg has about 2,300 residents and although small by many standards, it is a vital, growing community. Quality schools, abundant natural resources, business opportunities, and friendly small town atmosphere have enticed many to settle here and call it home.
A rich history...
In 1829 when Kalamazoo County was first settled, John Vickers, the village's namesake, moved here from Ohio and settled along the Portage Creek. Knowing that there was a large demand in the county for a convenient place to grind corn and wheat into flour, he quickly located a site on the banks of Rocky Creek and built a small temporary grist mill. In 1832, he built a new mill on Portage Creek which became known as Vickers' Mill. Although the Vicksburg area was considered Indian land until 1835, many early pioneer squatters like Vickers began to settle the area. In 1836 John Vickers contracted to survey the area around his mill and to plat a village to be called Vicksburgh. That same year Clark Briggs and John Noyes opened a store. In 1837 a blacksmith shop and hotel moved into town. The grist mill expanded to include a sawmill, a school was constructed an soon there was a bustling village.
Because technicalities of the land ownership system in the mid-1800s the Village of Vicksburgh actually got named Brady. The new wasn't too popular and in 1871, the County Board of Supervisors agreed with a petition by the residents to incorporate the village under the name of Vicksburg, by which it has been known ever since.
John Vickers died on 1 July 1843 too early to see the fruits of his labor and the formal establishment of the village that bears his name.
Locomotives, ice and campfires...
In the last 100 years Vicksburg has seen much growth and change. Transporting people and goods in 19th century Michigan had a great deal to do with that history. Vicksburg was first connected to the rails in 1870 via the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad. A year later the Peninsular Railroad, what was to become the Northwestern Grand Trunk, laid track through Vicksburg, connecting the village to both Port Huron and Chicago. Despite being a two-track town, Vicksburg remained a small community at least as permenant residents go. But in the early days of the railroad, travelers often found themselves far from home and need of a place to stay the night. In 1880, there were three hotels in town.
Today there are no hotels in Vicksburg, but the railroad is still an influence. The Canadian National Railway system maintains tracks running though town. Freight trains carry tons of goods to the nation pass through our community several times a day. The Vicksburg Depot Museum occupies the former Union Station (rail depot) in town and the Vicksburg recreation trail was built on land reclaimed as part of the "rails to trails" program.
Vicksburg also became a destination of choice on a more spiritual level. Beginning in 1884, the "Capital of Spiritualism" hosted a camp meeting every summer at Fraser's Grove where thousands would gather to observe healing rituals, flame readings, and listen to various mediums answer questions on behalf of those long departed. The evenings were filled with more traditional community activities like group suppers, musicals, and dances. As for the pond that John Vickers created when he dammed the Portage Creek, in the summer it was covered with colorful lotus lilies. It was a tourist attraction that drew thousands from around the country.
Rail travel also brought hunters and fisherman to the area to take advantage of the unspoiled woodlands, lakes and streams. Many of these travelers came from Chicago so often that it only seemed right to have seasonal homes or cottages in the Vicksburg area. This practice continues today with many Chicagoans spending their summers on Vicksburg area lakes.
We have something to inspire your imagination!
There is always something fun and interesting going on in Vicksburg, no matter what time of year. Vicksburg is one of Kalamazoo Counties oldest communities and its past reflects a rich and varied history that show up in the festival, events and exhibits locals and visitors enjoy.
In Vicksburg you will find a variety of interesting and creative individual shops, entertainment, historical sites, challenging golf courses, sandy beaches, lakes, parks and recreational areas. You'll find Vicksburg worth the visit. Who knows, you might decide to stay!
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A note to our visitors: This web site is not directly affiliated with the Village of Vicksburg or any of the townships that comprise the Vicksburg area. For information about local government agencies, click here.