peaches to market

Pioneering
Agriculturalists

Agriculture put Sparta on the map. From early on, its picturesque orchards scattered over gently rolling hills dotted with charming farms produced an abundance of apples, peaches, pears, and cherries. As soon as the homesteads were built, orchards were planted. It didn't take early pioneer farmers long to realize their rich soil and favorable weather patterns were ideal for growing bountiful orchards, raising beef, pork, chicken, dairy, and a wide variety of other crops. In fact, that's what drew many of the early settlers to select Sparta Township for their new homes.

apple trees

W.M. Wylie's advertisement published in the 3 Jan 1855 edition of the Grand River Times at Grand Haven, Michigan

By 1853, William Mosley Wylie had established North Kent Nursery on the north end of Sparta and was advertising apple trees. He was born on 2 Apr 1824 at Lebanon, Madison County, New York and arrived at Sparta in November 1845 with his brothers, Henry and Edward. These early settlers explored and chose 320 acres in Sections 3 and 10, jointly, which they purchased in January. Edward began clearing the lands while William and Henry traveled back to New York. Before long, they returned with Henry's wife and children.

William married Elizabeth Mills, daughter of Solomon Parker and Abigail (Danforth) Mills, on 28 Sep 1853 at Sparta. In 1860, they lived on an 80 acre farm. During the Civil War, William was included on a list of men subject to do military duty dated June-July 1863, with a notation stating his "wife died a short time ago, left 5 small children, oldest 8 years old." Whether or not he was called to service is unknown. On 30 Oct 1868, Ermina Ellis became William's wife and they had five additional children.

apple blossoms

Apple blossoms

The first Federal Agriculture Census to include orchard crops was conducted on 1 Sep 1880, but it only requested details for apples and peaches. The records showed nearly every rural Sparta Township landowner had at least six apple trees and as many as 350-375 "bearing trees", as in the case of Rev. Erastus Norton and Hiram Myers, respectively, whose orchards had each produced 1,000 bushels of apples the previous year. Brothers Ephraim and Perry Bradford had 300 trees combined resulting in 850 bushels, from just seven acres of land in total. Both Carey Buck and the Bloomer brothers, Reuben and Coles Abel, harvested 800 bushels of apples at their farms, while 600 bushels were picked at John Simons' farm, and Gilbert Bettes brought in 400 bushels of apples from 350 trees on six acres.

Sparta apples

Late season apples

Lyman S. Ballard collected 100 bushels of apples from 300 trees he planted on five acres. Dozens of farms had at least 100 apple trees which yielded fruit in their orchards. Many others had planted orchards but their trees were not yet able to produce fruit. Old fashioned apple trees, grown from seed, may take between ten and twenty years to become mature before they bear fruit.

Rev. Erastus Norton's apple orchard covered fourteen acres, the largest in Sparta Township at the time, while Jonathan Nash had planted just one-half of an acre with at least thirty-five trees and they produced 200 bushels of apples. Mr. Nash also dedicated another half-acre of land to growing peaches with 100 trees which brought forth ten bushels of the golden fruit.

The Bloomer Brothers

Among the first who ventured into growing peaches on a far larger scale were the Bloomer brothers who planted a 25 acre orchard and reported 2,800 "bearing trees" from which they harvested 3,000 bushels of the sweet golden bounty. Other farmers who saw the potential in raising peaches included William Anderson with 650 trees on nineteen acres from which he picked 300 bushels. Daniel Purdy and Marcene Cummings each had 200 peach trees while James Hanford planted 30 acres. All three of these farms had brought in 100 bushels of peaches, each.

Ed Swartz, a nurseryman, assisted in an 1881 report presented at a meeting and published by the State Horticultural Society on the topic of "Setting an Orchard". Mr. Schwartz had rented fifteen acres for fifteen years from the Bloomer Brothers on which he planted peaches. He provided a list of 2,800 peach tree varieties planted at a Sparta Township orchard: 600 each of Early Crawford, Barnard, and Late Crawford; 200 each of Hale's Early and Hill's Chili; 100 Early York; 75 Beatrice; and 50 each of Alexander, Foster, Jacques Rareripe, and Reeves' Favorite. In the discussion which followed at the meeting, some varieties were said to be of little value for the table while others were not good keepers, so they were difficult to ship to market and deemed better suited for home use.

After several years, peach trees were past their peak so would be replaced with new stock to maximize production. Varieties such as Hale Havens, Red Havens, Elbertas, and several others improved the size and quality of peaches as well as the growers' ability to enter larger commercial markets. Consequently, as more people came to rely on commercially produced fruit and fewer grew their own at home, many of the delicate and unique heirloom varieties fell by the wayside.

Harriet Symes

Harriet Symes, Sparta Township's first school teacher and midwife

Bachelor brothers Reuben and Coles Able Bloomer in their early 20s arrived shortly before 1875 from Huron County, Ohio, to purchase their farm. The Bloomer brothers' property compromised of 160 acres located in the northeast quarter of Section 31 plus an additional 240 acres of the north half of Section 32 in Sparta Township for a total of 400 acres in all. A large part of their purchase was sold to the Bloomers by Mrs. John Manly.

Bachelors off the market! Coles Bloomer married May Cummings in 1890 and in 1893, Reuben wed Susie Gordon. Coles bought out his brother's interests in the farm and Reuben relocated to Grand Rapids. By 1912, Coles had become a member of the Board of Directors for Sparta State Bank and he served as President.

John and Harriet Symes

John Symes planted five acres with 300 apple trees and they produced 450 bushels, as reported. Although the Symes family primarily raised cherries, the 1880 Federal Agricultural Census only sought details for apple and peach orchards at that time.

Noted as one of the earliest settlers at Sparta, John arrived in June of 1845 and settled in Section 26, at the southeast corner of what we now know as Sparta Avenue and 12 Mile Road. The Symes property ran east and south from that intersection to just north of the long-time landmark commonly known as "Potato Joe's".

John Symes had quite a journey to make his home at Sparta. Born in 1817 at Devon, England, he immigrated to the Untied States in 1836 and became a naturalized citizen while he lived in Pennsylvania. He married Harriet W. Abbott, a native of Canisteo in Steuben County, New York, and they soon migrated into Richland County, Ohio, where a son, James Abbott Symes, was born in 1840 at the town of Shelby.

Once the young family arrived at their Sparta property in 1845, they cleared some of their land to build a home from logs, about a mile and a half south of Sparta. By the following year, in addition to her own children, Harriet had accepted other students as she taught school in their home, and became the first school teacher in the Township. An energetic hard-working woman who cared about the well-being of others enough to lend a helping hand, Harriet was also the first mid-wife in the Township and she continued to deliver babies for the next thirty years. Whenever Harriet was called away from home to assist with the delivery of a new baby, John would step in and serve in the capacity of a substitute teacher. As a young man, their son James taught school as well.

Symes cherries

Harvesting a bountiful cherry crop at the Symes family's Cherry Hill Farm orchard with James standing and John seated in the buggy. How many people do you see... 10... 11... or more? Photograph was taken at about 1882-1885, from the Sparta Township Historical Commission collection

Lyman and Lucina Ballard

Elinor Mariah Ballard, whose nickname was "Nellie", was born in 1843 at Port Byron, Cayuga County, New York. Her mother passed away and her father remarried. In the 1860 Federal Census, she was recorded as "Ellen" in the household of her first cousin, Lyman S. Ballard, at Sparta.

the Ballards

Lyman and Lucina Ballard

Born in 1817 at Montgomery, in Orange County, New York, Lyman arrived with his family and two brothers at Sparta Township in 1850 where he purchased land in Section 34 to establish a farm. As roads were developed and named, this location eventually was identified as the intersection of Ten Mile Road and Sparta Avenue. The early settlement of Ballards Corners sprung up at the crossroads as other people made their homes in the area. Mr. Ballard operated a general store then was appointed Postmaster on 28 Feb 1856 for South Sparta, and on July 29th for Englishville. Civically minded, he was an inspiring and driving force in the establishment of Ballards School on one of the corners of the little hamlet. Lyman and his wife, Lucina (Nash) Ballard, donated land on another corner for Ballards Church and became charter members of the congregation.

Ballards General Store

Postmaster Lyman S. Ballards at his Ballards Corners general store

In 1863, James Symes married Elinor Ballard, and the newlyweds began their family. They were blessed with four daughters and a son. Their first daughter, Harriet Mae, died as an infant but Lula, Laura, J. Ballard, and Emma survived into adulthood.

Orchards Report

The Michigan State Horticultural Society published reports detailing the productivity of area orchards in 1880 and 1900 as they compared the number of acres to the bushels of fruit produced.

1880
Apples - 586 acres for 7,233 bushels
Peaches - 58 acres for 2,839 bushels
Cherries, Currants, Plums, and Berries - 9,579 lbs./304 bushels

1900
Apples - 519 acres for 15,163 bushels
Peaches - 369 acres for 19,316 bushels
Pears - 26 acres for 1,983 bushels
Plums - 103 acres for 4,246 bushels
Cherries - 27 acres for 1,354 bushels

At 84 years old, John Symes passed away on 23 Aug 1901 and his son James continued the operation of Cherry Hill Farm. On occasion, with his own brand of wit and wisdom he wrote engaging articles for the National Fruit Growers publication, one of which was included in their July 1903 issue.


The Cherry.
Cherry Hill Farm, Sparta, Kent County
by J. A. Symes

J.A. Symes aticle

J. A. Symes' July 1903 article, "The Cherry", appeared in the National Fruit Grower publication

We are in the midst of cherry harvest and I feel as if, perhaps, I might drop a few hints that could be of benefit to others having like work. My crop is not as large as common, but the quality of the fruit is excellent, and the market is good. Prices are not as high as most people were led to believe they would be; I think largely on account of the rumor that has gone out that "there would be no cherries this year." I have often noticed that when there is an advertised scarcity of any particular product, especially if it be classed among the luxuries, many will make up their minds to do without, and the prices will not come up to what the supply would seem to warrant.

I have had to oversee the harvesting myself, this year, running a crew of about 10 good pickers. There is a knack in setting ladders that few men possess without being taught, for the safety of the tree and the picker, the ladder must be set quite straight with good bearing at the top and firmly footed at the bottom. The ladder setter can often inspire confidence in a timid picker by going up the ladder, thus showing it to be perfectly safe. A wire hook about three feet long to stay outstanding branches to the ladder if often a great help. All boxes must be well filled, shaken down and cleared of leaves, bruised and bird-bitten fruit. The word "birds" brings me to a very perplexing question. I made a very grave mistake in putting my plat of 200 trees of choice sweet varieties in a part of the orchard far from the house. They fell prey to all the feathered tribe. I threaten every year that I will put up a tent in the midst of the orchard and sleep there so that I may be there to salute the dawn by firing a volley of blank cartridges. Crows I find are the most destructive. They will light in a tree and devour all the fruit in reach, but they are very shy of gunpowder and a few shots will frighten them away. Small birds destroy much, but they also save the orchard from many pests so they become bold and it is next to impossible to drive them away. And I am inclined to think that perhaps they are not indebted to the fruit grower for what they eat.

Cherry picking is an art that women and bright children can acquire much quicker than men. Some are of nervous temperament and easily discouraged, and the foreman while being firm should be courteous and always "keep sweet." If any of the help forget the rules and become noisy or careless and thus become a hinderance, after being quietly cautioned do not reform they should be dispensed with at once. Have it understood that you are quite as anxious that they should all earn good wages for honest work as they are themselves, and show a willingness to pay for all odd quarts, and deal honestly with all, children as well as adults.


Harvests Record Crop of Cherries On 82nd Birthday
Sparta Pioneer Remembers When Michigan Was Wilderness.

Special to The Detroit Free Press 30 Jul 1922, Detroit, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Mich., July 29--Just to celebrate his eighty-second birthday, J. A. Symes, of Sparta, harvested a bumper crop of cherries on his farm on which he has lived for 77 years.

It was only 18 months ago that Symes relinquished any part his farm duties. This year he has looked only after the eight acres of cherry trees on the 83-acre farm which was his homestead.

The octogenarian was born in Shelby county, Ohio, in 1840. His parents came to Grand Rapids in 1845, but remained only long enough to prospect for land and take up a claim. When the family moved to Sparta its only guide was the blazed trail of the surveyors along the section lines.

The location was reached at 9 o'clock one summer night and the camp pitched was then the beginning of the farm life of the Symes pioneers. Eighteen years later, when the forest had given way to agriculture, J. A. Symes married Miss Eleanor Ballard, who still lives and is as active and vigorous as her husband. Her family is the one from which Ballards Corners, which came into existence before Grand Rapids was established, takes its name.

Symes father was a mason by trade and helped build the abutments for the first bridge across Grand river. Later he laid the engine bed for the first furniture factory operated by steam power.

The Sparta pioneer was born a Republican, his first vote being for Lincoln, but he became a prohibitionist and remained so until the eighteenth amendment became effective. Now he is a Republican again.

Peach Ridge Fruit
Growers Association

PEACH RIDGE FRUIT AREA HAS BUMPER CROPS
Better Fruit is Developed
Million Bushels of Apples and Peaches Is 1941 Estimate

by H.J. Kurtz in Sunday, Sept. 14 Issue of Grand Rapids Herald

Add 250,000 bushels of peaches and 750,000 bushels of apples and you have a million bushels of fruit in anybody's arithmetic.

Sparta apples

Sparta apples

That's the 1941 "take" of the expert fruit growers who operate the large and profitable orchards in the Peach Ridge area southwest of Sparta. These ace horticulturalists are enjoying their most successful peach harvest since they organized the Sparta Peach Ridge Fruit Growers Association in 1929.

Which makes it appear fruit growing is another one of the industries that are back on a pre-depression basis.

Sold on Grounds

By the time the season ends in another week, Otto Klenk, president of the association estimates at least 250,000 bushels of choice peaches will have been sold in the Peach Ridge fruit belt--an area only seven miles long and two miles wide. Ninety percent of the Peach Ridge crop is sold in its own orchards and warehouses, and truckers and buyers representing most of the midwest markets have already trucked away thousands of bushels of such early varieties as South Havens and Rochesters.

Peach Farmers

Sparta's Peach Ridge peach growers--The Grand Rapids Herald, also published in The Sentinel-Leader, courtesy of STHC Newspaper Archives

Now, as the season draws to a close, the luscious, colorful Hales and Elbertas are moving in truckload lots to distant markets.

In the Peach Ridge fruit belt, comprising orchards in Sparta, Alpine, Walker, Tyrone and Plainfield townships in Kent County and Wright and Chester townships in Ottawa County, are some of the most successful peach and apple orchards in the state. Klenk estimates that at least 750,000 bushels of apples will be harvested there this fall, as well as a fine crop of pears, plums and grapes raised by expert fruit growers of many years' experience.

Began Years Ago

Some of these orchardists are the sons of Kent county pioneers who began growing fruit in that section more than 50 years ago. Handed down from father to son as a family heritage, the well kept farms are operated with pride and profit by their owners, who live in large, comfortable homes and have added modern storage plants, electric refrigeration and ventilating fans to their fruit growing equipment.

Farmers' daughters

Daughters of fruit growers in the Peach Ridge District southwest of Sparta with bushels of fresh picked peaches posed for a photo at the orchard of Phil Klenk and Sons. Standing: Natholee Schneider, Margaret and Thelma Dunneback, Dorothy Armock, Frances Dunneback, Agatha Armock, Elizabeth Dunneback, Lucille Finkler, Rosemary Umlor, and Catherine Dunneback. Seated: Norma Fleet, Lois and Phyllis Klenk--The Sentinel-Leader, published 18 Sep 1941, photo from the Sparta Township Historical Commission archives

Among the veteran fruit growers is Phil Klenk, who began orcharding in the Peach Ridge district 47 years ago and built one of the first modern refrigerated plants in that vicinity. In the orchards he farms with his sons, Erwin and Otto, there are now three of these plants, their warehouses have a total capacity of 36,000 bushels of fruit. Annual crop of the Klenk orchards is 6,000 bushels of peaches and 25,000 bushels of apples.

The Peach Ridge Fruit Growers' association now has 80 members. Other officers besides President Otto Klenk are Lowell McKinney, secretary; Harold Wilson, treasurer; Harold Chase and Leo Dunneback, directors.

Latest Methods

Also enjoying a bountiful 1941 harvest is the West Sparta fruit section, four miles west of Sparta, where expert fruit grain and dairy farmers three years ago organized an association which now has forty members. Officers of this association are Julius Nussdorfer, president; Carl Schwartz, vice president; Roland Kraft, secretary; Franklin Reister, treasurer; and John Ritz and Curtis Swarthout, directors.

Success of the fruit growers in the latter area also commands the respect of the horticultural world and has attracted truckers and buyers from a wide area.

Horticulturalists of both the Peach Ridge and West Sparta fruit belts improve their crops by using the latest methods of fertilizing, spraying and pruning. Every year they plant at least 100,000 new fruit trees of many varieties to replace wornout or broken trees, or to set new orchards.--The Sentinel-Leader, published on September 18, 1941; from the Sparta Township Historical Commission newspaper database



The Apple
Smorgasbord

by Cindy Laug

1953 Apple Smorgasbord

Janet Klein, Gladys Davenport, and Alma Gillett with Apple Queen Carol Fahling at the 1953 Apple Smorgasbord

Over the 20 year span of the Apple Smorgasbords, attending dignitaries included Michigan governors (Williams and Romney), state senators and representatives, as well as journalists, reporters, and farm extension agents. Gerald R. Ford (then U.S. representative) was a regular attendee and Betty Ford even served as judge. Buyers from area grocers, like IGA, A&P, and Eberhard, would attend the event as well as Fred and Lena Meijer. Everyone wanted to be invited to this suit/tie and dressy gathering, but with attendance over 500, it remained by invitation only.

Congressman Ford

Congressman Jerry Ford at the Apple Smorgasbord

Farm wives knew apples could be used in every dish throughout the meal and it was time to share their secret recipes from salads to appetizers, main dishes, beverages, and of course desserts! The buffet featured over 200 homemade apple dishes. Small cardboard apple trays were distributed for folks to fill their plates with the many specialty recipes.

One year, Lady Bird Johnson's submission of White House Apple Tarts was the featured recipe. The women used their old German and Swedish recipes for the buffet dished. And those recipes were in high demand. In 1953 alone they received 4,237 requests for recipes. Requests from all over the country came pouring in and the growers' wives were not ready for that. The MSU extension office helped with printing and mailings and in later years an annual cookbook was presented to guests.

recipe booklet

1963 Apple Smorgasbord recipe booklet from the Peach Ridge Growers Association

Apple crates were used for seating, apple boxes for tables, and there were designated apple polishers. The yearly event rotated from farm to farm and the hosting family spent many weeks grooming, cleaning, and prepping in anticipation. Future events lent themselves to themes, entertainment, and decorations to keep the event fresh.

The marketing scheme worked well as national publications and papers covered the annual celebration (Good Housekeeping, The Ford Times, Washington Post Times, and Parents Magazine). Food editors from across the U.S. would attend this unique event, but politicians came as well. It offered growers a chance to meet with public officials to discuss their concerns and likewise gave those running for office an opportunity to meet with their constituents... a win-win situation. Politicians were brought back to the basics in the farming community, and they liked to see growers take ownership for promoting their own product and not always asking for government assistance.

Planning for such an event was a yearlong undertaking with many subcommittees sharing the load. The host family had a huge commitment as did the chairman of the event. It made sense to hold this in September when the fruit was ripe of the trees and harvest was in full swing. But because of the timing, the men were in the fields so the women took the brunt of the preparation.

Past participants have two schools of thought of why the Smorgasbord ended in 1971. By the early 1970's it became evident that the chain stores were there to stay, and the small local growers were a thing of the past. Times were changing as was the attendance at the annual event. Locally owned grocers were no longer in business and representation from big chain stores like WalMart and Meijer was not happening. Food editors and buyers no longer came.

Others believed it was getting to big and hard to handle. Too many people wanted to be invited, but the number of growers in charge was the same, thus it became too much. They tried to revive the event and held two gatherings that had roots in the old smorgasbord. But that old "pa-zaz" was gone. The Smorgasbord had served its original mission, to promote the apple industry and build community among the growers. The 1971 Smorgasbord was the last one held by the Peach Ridge Growers Association.



Dairy
Through the Years

by JoAnne VanderWerff

In 1917 the Carnation Milk Company opened a plant in Sparta, Michigan, conveniently located at the railroad near the corner of East Gardner and Prospect. At the time local dairy farmers supplied the milk, most likely milking only a few cows by hand, producing canned evaporated milk.

Carnation Milk Company

Carnation Milk Company plant

Over the years Carnation Milk Company employed a great number of Sparta residents, many of them women. By 1960 with fewer local milk producers to supply the milk, Carnation Milk Company in Sparta had no choice but to cease operations.

Chamber of Commerce

Originally Henry DeLange's Harness Shop, the building, built in 1885, now serves as offices for the Sparta Chamber of Commerce

Sparta's own Arzie Pinkney, in his "I Remember" article wrote of Sparta’s first milkman, Mr. Tuxbury. The cost of milk at the time was 3 cents a quart. Delivery was two times a week as most families in town owned their own cow. Years later he sold the business to Charlie Purdy and by then milk sold for 5 cents a quart.

Arzie also writes "Henry DeLang’s mother owned a cow she kept in a barn behind the Harness Shop." Today the newly restored harness shop is home to Sparta's Chamber of Commerce.

"In 1920 a man named Warner Siegel from Howard City started a milk business in the creamery. Many of you might remember the brick building along Nash Creek on the corner of North Union and Olmstead," wrote Arzie. "He also made butter, ice cream and installed the first pasteurizing equipment in town. Eventually the business was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Moody." The Moodys later relocated to 34 Maple Street, then Elm Street. In 1954 the business was sold to Bajema Dairy in Comstock Park who continued to deliver milk under the name of Sparta Dairy.

DeLange Harness Shop

DeLange Harness Shop

Some may remember Sam Stout's Dairy on 10 Mile Road. At one time Sam most likely delivered milk to most everyone in the Sparta area. Sam was my grandma's milkman; I remember the quart glass bottles of milk delivered to her back door. The house and barns still stand today, not as a dairy farm but as Briar Barns, a beautiful wedding venue.

By the late 1930's a new dairy opened in Sparta, located in what we now know as Sparta Optometry on North Union Street. Vaughn Dairy was owned by Harold Vaughn and operated by his son Leonard. Vaughn's own dairy farm, located on Sparta Avenue just north of the city limits, supplied the milk. By now milking machines had been implemented and cows were no longer milked by hand. In March of 1941, Vaughn Dairy was sold to Floyd Buege and Lester Tanner becoming B&T Dairy Bar, a popular place for young folks to gather for a burger or soda. Vaughn's dairy farm continued to supply milk for B&T Dairy Bar.

B & T Dairy Bar

Floyd Buege and Lester Tanner's B & T Dairy Bar on North Union Street

According to an article published in the January 12, 1966 issue of the Sentinel Leader, "House of Flavors, Inc., a chain of ice cream stores, has bought the Buena Vista Dairy located at 73 ½ North Union Street, Sparta." The article states the store will continue to operate as in the past with old style ice cream. Managing the store was Mrs. Millard Belcher of Sparta. As kids we always referred to the House of Flavors as the Malt Shop. Occasionally our mom provided written permission to our teacher to walk from school on North Union Street to the House of Flavors for lunch. Seventy-five cents bought us a burger, fries and a malt. Today, the Sparta Township Historical Commission's research center is located in the House of Flavors building though for whatever reason, the address is now 71 N. Union Street.

For many of us, when we think of dairy, we think of dairy farms. Over the years Sparta has had a major role in dairy production in a way only a small town can through our small locally owned dairies, creameries, and home delivery. Not only were our local farmers responsible for providing dairy within our community, they supplied milk for a major industry which also employed many local residents.

Throughout the years dairy farming has evolved from milking by hand to today's modern, large farms with automated milking equipment. From delivering milk in large cans by horse and wagon, to delivering milk by tanker truck to large milk processors. Dairy Farms continue to operate in the Sparta area, some multi-generational such as Bradford Dairy and VanderHyde's Spartan Farms, who also provide beef to a local restaurant. Today's farmers continue to safely provide the world with an abundance of food and we can be proud of our contribution from here on "The Ridge".

Sparta... A Great Place to Grow.

Sparta Trivia

In Sparta in 1960, Luke Arends discovered a seedling near his McIntosh orchard bearing an early ripening apple that was pleasantly tart. He named the fruit Paula Red for his wife, Pauline. This Michigander apple grows throughout Michigan and continues to be one of the first to be picked in the harvest season. It is enjoyed fresh, as a sauce and in pie.--from Michigan Apples: History & Tradition by Sharon Kegerris

Contact

STHC

Sparta Township Historical Commission headquarters at 71 North Union Street

Our History Center is conveniently located at 71 North Union Street in downtown Sparta. Please join us for coffee and lively conversation on Monday mornings. Visits to the History Center can also be scheduled by appointment, for your convenience.

We do not receive mail at the History Center, instead, please use our mailing address, which is:

attn: Sparta Township Historical Commission
Sparta Township
160 E. Division St.
Sparta MI 49345

For inquiries of all types, the Sparta Township Historical Commission can be reached by phone at: 616.606-0765 or via email at the following address: