The Small Town of Sunfield in Eaton County, Michigan: 1900-1920s
Many years ago, I enjoyed driving through Sunfield...there used to be an old one-room school house out in the countryside that I got a kick out of visiting. But now that's gone...demolished. I believe it was just a shade north of town out in a field...am I remembering that correctly? I know there were quite a few old schools surrounding Sunfield at one point...
Sitting west of Lansing in Eaton County, Sunfield had its beginnings in 1836 when the first settler, Sam Hoyt, arrived and set up a homestead. A township named 'Sunfield' was eventually formed but it took almost another twenty years (1855) before a post office was implemented. Seventeen years later (July 1872) it closed. It re-opened that September and has stayed open ever since.
Sunfield also became a station on the Detroit, Grand Rapids & Western Railroad and became an official incorporated village in 1899.
For such a small town that some people call just “a blip on the map”, Sunfield did pretty well for itself. During the late 1800s-early 1900s, the village had a blacksmith, campgrounds, churches, depot, doctors, elevator, general stores, grocers, the posh Hotel Walsh, an International Harvester hardware store, livery, logging, milk delivery, milling company, schools, sugar beet farms...and even a weather predictor.
The town held old-fashioned picnics, reunions, parades, and town parties. It was – and still is – a good place to live. A couple of nice rows of old original business establishments still line Main Street, now containing just a few Mom & Pop shops.
The village of Sunfield is 25 miles west of Lansing and 13 miles west of Grand Ledge. Not a bad place to spend an hour or two some weekend afternoon.
The Small Town of Sunfield: 1900-1920s