In Kalkaska County, there was once a settlement by the name of Van Buren. The settlement was located within the township of Rapid City. When the name of the township was changed to 'Clearwater', the name 'Van Buren' was on its way to disappearing.

1891: The new Chicago & Western Michigan Railroad came through
1891: Rail station is named Van Buren after landowners Charles & Carrie Van Buren 1892: Post office opens, named 'Van Buren'
1895: Post office changes its spelling to 'Vanburen'
1898: Residents insist that to change the name to 'Rapid City' as a way to keep the name alive. The name came from the Rapid River that flows through the community 1898: A mill and elevator were constructed
1902: The town got a new newspaper, The Rapid City Record to replace the discontinued paper, The Rustler
1906: New brick schoolhouse was built
1918: Population, 300
1970s: Population, less than 100
2020: The census lists the population at 1,357

Rapid City is one of only four main communities in the entire Kalkaska County. The other three are Kalkaska, Lodi, and South Boardman.

99.1 WFMK logo
Get our free mobile app

There is nothing earth-shattering about Rapid City, no revelations, no mysteries.....other than it seems like a decent place to get away from the rat race of lower Michigan. There are a few old buildings still standing, a few empty, and others used for homes or other establishments. Not a bad area for a drive-thru or to have your own getaway place.

Vintage Photos of Rapid City, Early 1900s


Vintage Cereals of The Battle Creek Food Company

Vintage Photos of Houghton Lake/Prudenville

Vintage Photos of Mackinaw City

More From 99.1 WFMK