Site No.4: The City of Allegan


The Chippewa Indians called this area Allegan, meaning “the lake of the Algonquins”.  But Allegan had other names too.  Its first name was Lyons – that was 1834.  Later it was called Allegan Court House and was officially named Allegan in 1838 when it became a village and then a city in 1907.

The fire of 1884.  Like most of the cities and towns you will visit on this tour, Allegan had its share of fires, and the business district was rebuilt after the big fire of 1884.

The best way to explore Allegan is on foot.  So we recommend you take the self-guided walking tour, available from the Allegan Public Library.  It will guide you past over 70 historic buildings and homes.


One of the churches you should see is the First Presbyterian Church on Cutler St. The original building burned in 1838.  After a temperance meeting held by the church ladies, the second one also burned in 1874.  At the suggestion of Judge Williams, all of Allegan’s saloon keepers donated to a new church, which is the one you see here today.


Another structure to see is the Second Street Bridge.  This simply ornamented wrought iron bridge was built in 1886.  It replaced an earlier wooden one that had begun to fall into disrepair.  Designed by the King Iron Bridge & Manufacturing Company of Cleveland, Ohio, the double-intersection Pratt truss bridge was completed at a cost of $7,532.25.  Eighteen feet wide and spanning 225 feet of the Kalamazoo River, it is one of the largest extent bridges designed by the firm.  Following a battle by city officials and local citizens to save the bridge from demolition, it was restored at a cost of $552,000 in 1983.  The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.



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