The Shadow Town of Ganges: Allegan County, Michigan: 1900-1930s
The village of Ganges sits in the township of the same name in Allegan County. A man from Vermont, Harrison Hutchins, arrived here around 1837-1838 and became the first settler. At the time, the other residents were Native Americans who were happy to do some trading with these white settlers that kept arriving. The area was also full of wolves --- so many, that it was impossible to raise sheep.
The first legitimate business was a blacksmith shop around 1847. As for the name “Ganges”, it came from Dr. Joseph Coates, a member of the Otsego legislature. There doesn't seem to be a recorded reason why he liked that name, other than it was the same as the well-known river in India.
Although a small community, Ganges had a blacksmith, canning & packing company, garage, general store, Greyhound bus line, post office, and the Union School. The post office operated for 100 years: from 1854-1954. The canning company was successful from 1901 until banks foreclosed on it in 1903. All the machinery was sold by 1905 and the building was turned into a mint plant. Electric lights finally came to Ganges in 1919 when an electric company was organized.
The nearby community of Pier Cove was platted in 1851 along Lake Michigan. At it's peak, Pier Cove had three hotels, saloon, four stores, sawmill, and wood shop. When the fire of 1871 swept through, Pier Cove's business and residency dropped considerably.
The village of Ganges in the 2020s is an interesting little place for a drive-thru and a few photo ops, as you will see in the gallery below...
Vintage Photos of Ganges, Michigan: 1900-1930s
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