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Allegan County History

Allegan County's name was coined by the noted student of the Indians, Henry Schoolcraft. The County was set off in 1831 and organized in 1835. Settlement of the County seat, Allegan, was promoted in 1835 by eastern capitalists who were attracted by the site's sources of water power. For many years, steamboats traveled the Kalamazoo River between Allegan and Saugatuck. Extensive lumbering by the pioneers cleared the way for farm production, in which the County has been a leader.


Historical Slideshow

View the Historical Slideshow


To the Citizens of Allegan County:
The Allegan County Board of Commissioners is proud to present to the public our official historical webpage. Since past Facilities Management Director Brett Butler unveiled the Allegan County Historical Photographic Project* displaying old photographs at some of our County buildings, a suggestion for a point of reference to those photographs turned into a unique and interesting online journey into Allegan County’s past.
We would like to give our thanks to the following individuals who have made this project a success:
  • The Allegan County Historical Society
  • Allegan County Historian John Pahl
  • Mark Lovett of Frames Unlimited
  • Brett Butler, former Allegan County Facilities Management Director
  • Project Team Members:
    • Administration Department: Rob Sarro, County Administrator; Denise Stan, Project Analyst; and Becky Blaine, Administrative Services Assistant
    • Information Services Department: Steve Sedore, Executive Director of Operations; and Debra Jones, Website Developer
A very special thanks to Debra Jones, who without her knowledge, creative abilities and expertise, this project could not have been completed.
The Allegan County Board of Commissioners
*For more information on this project contact the Administration Department.
Since this website is a continual work in progress, it can be expanded with additional photos. Any historian or interested party that wishes to have their picture(s) included for display, please contact the Administration Department. The photos may be sent via mail or email. A brief description with year or decade should also be provided.

Map - Location of Allegan CountyGeography

Allegan County’s is located in the southwest region of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. It is the 18th largest county in Michigan and has 24 townships. It has approximately 827 square miles of land with 25 miles of coast line along beautiful Lake Michigan. We have much to offer our residents. Summer activities include swimming, fishing water skiing, and camping and winter activities include skiing and snowmobiling. There is wine tasting at the vineyards and apple, peach and cherry picking in the orchards. You can view places to stay, play, taste, and experience as well as view a calendar of events from our Tourist Council website or learn more about Allegan County from our Visitors Guide.
The County is still mostly rural in nature, and still maintains an agriculture and tourist based economy, however trends are toward more light industry and technology which has translated into Allegan County being in one of the fastest growing regions of the state.
Allegan County government is one of the largest employers in Allegan County. The county employs approximately 700 people, which include positions in several departments/areas. Learn more about working in Allegan County.

 History Research Resources