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Ottawa County / Holland History TimeLine

1650 - 1849: The Ottawa Indians resided in Ottawa County. They were hunters and fishermen. They grew and harvested wild rice in the swamps along the Grand River. The Ottawa lived in birch bark huts rather than wigwams and teepees. The Ottawa were master builders of the birch bark canoe, which was light, windproof and waterproof. They used the canoes to catch fish in the surrounding Great Lakes.The Ottawa lived in a small part of Michigan and a very large part of Ontario Canada.

1754: A Frenchman named Charles Langlade came to this area to recruit Indians to fight against Braddock and Washington in the French and Indian War. For his part in the defeat of Braddock, Langlade was given the fur trade rights throughout the entire Grand River Valley.

1833: an Ottawa Indian village of about 300 was located on Black Lake, now Lake Macatawa. The village was led by Chief Waukazoo, recognized by his followers as a prophet and by local settlers as an orator. The Ottawa adopted many of the customs of their white neighbors, such as dress and the use of oxen, carts plows and axes. They built log buildings for storage, but preferred to live in their traditional wigwams. Many of these Indians were converted to Christianity.


1837: Ottawa County was named for the Ottawa tribe called "Ondatahouats," or "people of the forest" Ottawa means "trader"


1837: Michigan becomes a state


1839: The Protestants in the village established the "Old Wing Mission" southeast of Holland. The Catholics chose a site on the other side of Black Lake to build their church and consecrated a cemetery there in 1841.

1849 (June 1): The Waukazoo band moved to the Grand Traverse Bay area, founding the village of Waukazooville.


1846: The Reverand Albertus Christiaan Van Raalte, his wife, five children, a servant woman and 100 other devout Dutch people fled from Arnhem, Netherlands to America to avoid religious persecution. They settled on the western side on Michigan.


1847: City is referred to as 'Holland'

  • River Street is plotted to run North to South.
  • Eight s hort streets crossing River were named 1st through 8th streets.
  • The town center was lucated between 7th , 8th and River.
  • The ship called "Knickerbocker",was purchased by Van Raalte to deliver goods to Holland, but it proved to be impractical.
  • 1847: Hendrik Van Eyck sails from the Netherlands arrives in 1848 in Holland.

    1848: An orphanage was built to house orphans whose parents died from the fevers was never used. The community took in the homeless children, so the building became the Pioneer School.

    Corduroy Roads linked Detroit to Holland.

    1850 - The first newspaper was called The Hollander.

    1851 -Van Raalte started the Holland Academy, a Reformed Church prep school for teens.

    1852: Northport annexes Waukazooville.

    1856: The Pillar Church is built on the corner of 9th Street and College Avenue.

    1857: The Reformed Dutch Church of America splits = Christian Reformed Church.

    1858: A pier was constructed at mouth of Black Lake. (Holland Pier)

    1850: Michigan infantries were formed to fight for the Union (60 men were killed)

    1865: Lincoln was assassinated and Holland was in grief;

    1866: Holland Academy became Hope College

    1867: Holland officially becomes a City.

    First Mayor: Isaac Cappon

    1871: Sunday, Oct 8: A devastating fire burned the City Holland . It is thought that a spark from the great Chicago Fire started many fires that eventually moved up the Lake to Holland and north to Manistee.

    310 homes and 76 businesses were destroyed.

    1872: September 17th Holland turns 25 years old. The ceremony is called 'Ebenezer'.

    1929: Tulip Time started with the purchase of 100,000 tulip bulbs from the Netherlands

    Try it! You'll like this lesson!

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