Greenville, Michigan

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Greenville, Michigan
Location of Greenville within Montcalm County, Michigan
Location of Greenville within Montcalm County, Michigan
Coordinates: 43°11′N 85°15′W / 43.183°N 85.250°W / 43.183; -85.250Coordinates: 43°11′N 85°15′W / 43.183°N 85.250°W / 43.183; -85.250
Country United States
State Michigan
County Montcalm
Founded 1844
Incorporated 1867 (village)
1871 (city)
 • Total 6.67 sq mi (17.28 km2)
 • Land 6.34 sq mi (16.42 km2)
 • Water 0.33 sq mi (0.85 km2)
Elevation 837 ft (255 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,481
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 8,435
 • Density 1,337.7/sq mi (516.5/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 48838
Area code(s) 616
FIPS code 26-35100[4]
GNIS feature ID 0627370[5]

Greenville is a city in Montcalm County of the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 8,481 at the 2010 census. Greenville residents can commute to jobs in the nearby Grand Rapids metro area.


Greenville is named after its founder, John Green, who settled in the wilderness of the southwest part of the Montcalm County in 1844. John Green constructed a sawmill on the Flat River that is credited for attracting other settlers. The newly formed Green's Village attracted many people of Danish origin who followed another early Danish settler's positive letters home regarding the area. Because of the town's heritage, Greenville celebrates the Danish Festival every year on the third weekend of August. A post office was established on January 20, 1848, with Abel French as the first postmaster. John Green had the village platted in 1853 and it was a station on the Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad. Greenville incorporated as a village in 1867 and as a city in 1871.[6]

Hendrik Meijer, founder of Meijer's stores, moved to Greenville after immigrating to the USA from the Netherlands. He was initially a barber, but the Great Depression and lack of a proper grocery on his side of town led him to open his own store in 1934. Meijer corporation now operates stores throughout the Midwest. Hendrik's son Fred Meijer, principal architect of the modern Meijer chain, is a native son.

Greenville is also home to the Fighting Falcon,[7] the lead plane of a wave of gliders during Operation Overlord. The Falcon was purchased with funds raised by the school children of the town, and was designated the lead aircraft in recognition of this achievement.[citation needed]

Since the foundation of Ranney Refrigerator Co. in 1892, the town has been known as the "Refrigerator Capital of the World." It has also been home to the Gibson, White Consolidated, Frigidaire, and until recently, the Electrolux refrigerator factory. Electrolux closed the Greenville facility in early 2006, as it was in the process of relocating the factory to Ciudad Juárez in Mexico. This move impacted 2,700 employees and their families.

The city was to become the epicenter of "green" technology with the addition of solar panel manufacturer United Solar Ovonic; however, that enterprise filed for bankruptcy.[8] It is also home to the new manufacturing and design center of Northland Marvel, an undercounter refrigeration company that just became a part of the UK-based AgaRangemaster group.

Lafayette Street, the downtown district, was placed on the National and State Register of Historic Sites in November 2008.



Baldwin Lake Beach offers a pool house and two acres of white sand beach on the cool shores of Baldwin Lake.[9] The swimming area is small with no docks in water off the beach. The pool house has vending machines and changing rooms. No lifeguard oversees swimmers.


Greenville has a well-developed trail system. The eight mile long Fred Meijer Flat River Trail connects Greenville's major parks and circumnavigates the city.[10] Greenville is also the terminus of the 41 mile long Fred Meijer Heartland Trail.[11] This trail connects Greenville to Alma, and various other communities in Montcalm and Gratiot counties. Mountain biking is available at both the Shearer Road and Edward's Creek mountain bike paths.[12] [13]

Greenville Michigan Fred Meijer Trail


The Tower Mountain ski area offers the county's only tow rope operated skiing/sledding area and is free to the public.[14] Greenville also offers miles of cross country skiing trails at both the Greenville Community Center and along the snow covered bike trails in the winter.


Canoe access to the Flat River is available at Jackson's Landing, a popular starting point for paddling through the Flat River State Game area.[15]

Ice fishing[edit]

Greenville has a proud culture of ice shanty building and annually displays some of its most technologically advanced creations on the area's many fishing lakes.[16]

Historic landmarks[edit]

Black Field[edit]

This historic stadium was carved into a hillside south of the Union School building and was home to Greenville High School's football team since 1933. The field was donated to the school by Dr. D. K. Black and was officially dedicated on October 15, 1936.This field has since been retired and a new stadium has been built on site at Greenville Senior High[17]

The Fighting Falcon Museum[edit]

This historical structure was built in 1902 and was originally the Cass St School building.[7] The building was then used as the Board of Education before being renovated and turned into the Fighting Falcon Museum.

First Congregational Church[edit]

The multi steepled First Congregational Church was completed on June 6, 1880. The front of the building is adorned with a twelve foot wide rose window. This building is actually the second First Congregational Church in Greenville. The original First Congregational Church was built in 1856, bought by Saint Paul's Episcopal Church and moved down the street.[18]

Historic Main Street[edit]

Greenville's original shopping district on Lafayette street showcases early 20th century architecture from the bluffs of the Flat River to Greenville's city hall.

The Little Mermaid[edit]

A copy of Denmark's the little mermaid sits along the banks of the Flat River. This little statue generated an international controversy when the City of Greenville was sued for copyright infringement by the heirs of the original sculptor, Edvard Eriksen

The Flat River Historical Museum[edit]

It was on this site on the banks of the Flat River that John Green built his cabin, a dam across the flat river, and the sawmill that brought jobs and the village's first residents.[19]


Danish festival[edit]

The third weekend in August brings Greenvillians from around the world back to Greenville. This festival celebrates Greenville's Danish heritage as well as its modern day Midwestern spirit.


Greenville's farms are located in Montcalm County's Soil Preservation District. Greenville is surrounded by potato, corn, dairy, and Christmas tree farms. Greenville was home to Ore-ida's tater tots division, until Oreida consolidated its operation in 1986[20][21] and Greenville's farmers were forced to diversify their crops.

Greenville has an active 4H program and each summer hosts the Montcalm County 4H Fair. This fair displays livestock competitions, tractors pulls, a busy midway, and a demolition derby.[22]


Greenville is home to an active arts scene. The Flat River Community Players stage productions of American plays at the Greenville Community Center Theater.[23] The award winning Greenville High School music program consists of a marching band, concert band, orchestra, symphonic orchestra, and the Village Green singers.[24]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.67 square miles (17.28 km2), of which 6.34 square miles (16.42 km2) is land and 0.33 square miles (0.85 km2) is water.[1]

The Greenville post office, with ZIP code 48838, also serves all of Eureka Township, a large portion of Montcalm Township and a smaller area of Pine Township to the north, Fairplain Township to the east, a small area of Otisco Township in Ionia County to the south, and a large part of Oakfield Township to the west and a smaller part of Grattan Township to the southwest, both in Kent County.[25]

Greenville contains three navigable lakes within its city limits, Baldwin, Manoka, and Como. It also contains many unnamed ponds, a peat bog, and seasonal wet lands.

Major highways[edit]


As of 2000 the median income for a household in the city was $30,453, and the median income for a family was $35,050. Males had a median income of $32,500 versus $23,338 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,933. About 9.4% of families and 15.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.1% of those under age 18 and 6.6% of those age 65 or over.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,481 people, 3,464 households, and 2,138 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,337.7 inhabitants per square mile (516.5/km2). There were 3,826 housing units at an average density of 603.5 per square mile (233.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.3% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.8% from other races, and 2.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.9% of the population.

There were 3,464 households of which 35.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 17.1% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.3% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.98.

The median age in the city was 34.7 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% were from 25 to 44; 22.4% were from 45 to 64; and 15.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.2% male and 52.8% female.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Greenville has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[26]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Greenville, Michigan
  6. ^ Romig, Walter (1986) [1973]. Michigan Place Names. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. ISBN 0-8143-1838-X. 
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ Fred Upton-Backed United Solar Ovonic Files For Bankruptcy
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  20. ^ Mathieu, N., "Industrial Restructuring: World Bank Experience, Future Challenges" World Bank Press, 1996. p. 72
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  25. ^ ZCTA Reference Map for 48838, U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 census
  26. ^ Climate Summary for Greenville, Michigan

External links[edit]