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Ionia Michigan

The Grand River winds its way through Ionia County. It has been an important waterway throughout history. The area was first home to Potawatomi, Ottawa and Chippewa Villages. Sometime later, traders and missionaries arrived in the area. In the spring of 1832, Mr. Samuel Dexter from New York made a real estate purchase of one square mile of land along the river. He returned one year later with sixty-two other settlers and began to settle what is now known as Ionia. The purchase price was for a $25.00 coin. The sale price also included the gardens and the wigwams of the Indians.

The city of Ionia is full of beautiful historical buildings. Stately Victorian homes line the central city streets. Several historical private residences line the hillside overlooking the Grand River Valley. One of my favorite homes is the spectacular Mission Style home built for Governor Green, governor of Michigan from 1927-1931.

The Ionia County Courthouse was built in 1886. Built of Ionia sandstone, this 3 ½ story landmark is even more beautiful on the inside with its black and white marble floors, oak wainscoting, butternut and walnut stairway and fourteen marble fireplaces throughout the building.

Ionia is full of many other historical government buildings just waiting to be explored, as well as Main Street with the Victorian streetscape. One of my favorite buildings in Ionia is the Ionia Theater a beautiful old building, still operating as a theater today.

What many may not know, is that Ionia was the home to the first J.L. Hudson store, located right on Main Street. Later, the J.L. Hudson store branched out and became a nationwide corporation.

The annual Ionia Free fair is located in town along the Grand River shoreline. It is the largest of its kind and has been operation at its current location since 1868.

Today Ionia being the county seat, enjoys a vibrant and diverse economy. It is home to several Michigan prisons, providing employment for many throughout the county. Growth is evident south of town along the M66 corridor.

There is so much to discover in this quiet city, it will be may well be a subject of a more detailed post at a later date.




Written by Dave.