2011-01-27 / Living

Moments in history

Swartz Creek celebrates 175th anniversary of Miller settlement


Parade in 1961 — Businesses, left to right, Hotel, Spillanes Gas Station, Swartz Creek Hardware, Angelbeck Cleaners, Spillane Hardware, Williams Drug Store, June's Restaurant and Herb Cities Service Station. Parade in 1961 — Businesses, left to right, Hotel, Spillanes Gas Station, Swartz Creek Hardware, Angelbeck Cleaners, Spillane Hardware, Williams Drug Store, June's Restaurant and Herb Cities Service Station. SWARTZ CREEK — Back before it became a city in 1959, the early beginnings of Swartz Creek can be attributed to German immigrants who settled in the area in 1836.

According to the Swartz Creek Area Historical Society’s website, Adam and Margaret Miller left New York that year, traveling to Michigan. The couple came through Flint with only a few belongings and later, their seven sons an four daughters joined them. The Miller family built a small log cabin in 1836 behind the original site of the Methodist Church, located on Morrish Rd. A year later, the family built a larger log cabin which was located one-quarter mile west. Today, that location is known as Mary-Dan Miller Farms.


Goodlander Hotel (Swartz Creek Hotel), located at Miller and Morris Rds. Goodlander Hotel (Swartz Creek Hotel), located at Miller and Morris Rds. Miller and his sons cut trees and underbrush to make a road from Flint to the Miller settlement, and this road is now Miller Rd. When Miller died in 1842, his sons built a larger house, replacing the second log cabin. At this time, there still were no stores, doctors or electricity in the area. This house served as the first Swartz Creek Post Office, and Peter Miller was one of the first postmasters.

From that moment on, many developments occurred in the Miller settlement. The First Methodist Church, which was built of wood, was struck by lightning in 1911 and burned. In 1877, the village of Swartz Creek was first plotted and one year later, a railroad came through. An early school was built in 1874 at Miller, and is now Holland. The first high school was built in 1891 and later became the Friendship Club in the early 1920s. Mary Crapo School was dedicated in 1928, and the high school was built in 1957.


Images of downtown Swartz Creek, above and left. Images of downtown Swartz Creek, above and left. Prior to Swartz Creek becoming a city in 1959, roads were paved in downtown in 1927 and the gravel was used from the Crapo Gravel Company, located at what is now Winchester Lake. That same year, Consumers Power brought electricity to the Swartz Creek area. The Crapo Farm was sold in 1955, and the development of Winchester Village began shortly after.

In honor of the 175th anniversary of the Miller settlement, the Swartz Creek Area Historical Society will have information on display at the upcoming Swartz Creek Hometown Days. For more information on the Miller settlement or Swartz Creek, visit the society’s website at www.swartzcreekhistory.com. Natalie Blythe




Swartz Creek Elevator and Lumber. Swartz Creek Elevator and Lumber.

Fortino’s Market. Fortino’s Market.

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