Site No.10: The City of Fennville

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According to legend the settlement of Fennville was established where two corduroy roads crossed in the swamp.  Corduroy roads, from the French “corde du roi” because they were originally created in France for the king’s travel, were formed by logs placed transversely across the path.  The fabric corduroy got its name because its undulations resemble that of the logs forming the road.

In the mid-1860’s most of Fennville occupied the high ground.  Later, as farmers drained the swamp, the main downtown area was developed.  The photo below shows the main street of Fennville as it looked in the early 1900’s.

Fennville

Fennville was originally called Fenn’s Mills, named for Elam Fenn of New York who had come here in 1851 and erected a sawmill at the site of Fennville in 1860. But the first train conductors had trouble announcing the name and it slowly changed to Fennville.  It was a railroad shipping center for a large fruit growing and mint production operation here in the 1920’s – some of which you can still see in operation today.

 

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