HISTORIC MICHIGAN SMALL TOWN: Clarksville, in Ionia County
Don't EVEN attempt to do any "last train to Clarksville" jokes to any townsfolk here...they've heard 'em all, dozens, HUNDREDS of times throughout the years (even so, the town uses that phrase on their official website). But yes, there is a railroad that cuts through Clarksville, the Pere Marquette, that still operates to this day.
The small Michigan town of Clarksville is probably how one would imagine it to be: quaint, with old original storefronts dotting the downtown area. It's located 43 miles west of Lansing, 28 miles east of Grand Rapids, and 2 1/2 miles south of I-96 on Nash Highway in the southwest corner of Ionia County, nestled in Campbell Township..
Campbell Township, which originated in 1840, was named by the only family of settlers in the area: two Irish brothers, Jeremiah & Martin Campbell and their brood. Previous to 1840, NO white people ever lived in that 6-mile square area and the Campbells became the only people living there from 1840 to 1847. That could be due to the swampy, marshy land that had no roads; they had to travel by water via (what is now called) Duck Creek.
After roads were surveyed, more settlers arrived; in 1875, Clark L. Howard erected a store at the corners between sections 3 & 10 and soon established a post office. Howard named the post office "Clarksville" after himself and that small section of Campbell Township has been known as "Clarksville" ever since. By now, the town had a church, two doctors, grange hall, a couple of one-room schoolhouses, various other stores, and a wagon shop.
Today the town is home of the annual Clarksville Ox Roast and Clarksville Steam & Gas Show; this just may be a cool, historic stop to make this summer as you travel through our state on a Michigan roadtrip. Check out more details on their website.
Stay off the highways and travel the back roads, side roads and dirt roads of Michigan; you'll see & learn so much you never knew existed here!