Glaciers once covered all of Michigan and carved out our Township landscape.
Potowatomi native Americans lived in our area for hundreds of years before European settlers
Early photo of the Scotts Grain Elevator built in 1889
The Long Lake bus brought folks from Kalamazoo out to the well known Ramona Palace and beach in the late 1930's and 1940's.
Early Photo of the Grange Building. Structure is still standing. This is now Scott's Cafe .
The Scotts Milling Company produced as much as 40,000 sacks of flour per year.
FACTS AND HISTORY OF PAVILION TOWNSHIP
The region now known as Pavilion Township was part of a "glacial outwash plain" formed around 14,500 years ago, as the glaciers that covered Michigan receded to the North. Archaeological evidence indicates that native Americans had inhabited this area for several thousand years before the arrival of European settlers. The Chippewa, Ottawa and Potowatomi indian tribes occupied this area in fairly large numbers, hunting, fishing and planting crops. Most native Americans were forcibly removed by the U.S. Government in the 1830's, except for some pockets that were associated with missionary churches. The first survey of our Township was done in 1827 by Robert Clark, Jr. The first European settler in our area was recorded as Caleb Vorce in 1834. Pavilion Township was officially organized in 1836. Census in 1850 was approx. 31 people.
The Scotts Mill Site
The iconic "Scotts Mill" was built on land purchased by Lyman Earl in 1844 for $750.00. The site was originally settled in 1836, a saw mill and a flour mill were constructed in 1845. The White family, whose descendants still live locally, operated the mill for several generations. The saw mill burned down in 1896. At one point, the flour mill sold over 40,000 sacks of flour per year, plus other products like pancake mix and bakery materials. The area became a County Park in 1976 and continues to be a charming venue to visit. Multiple educational and recreational sites are featured.
The Thriving Village of Scotts
A fur trader by the name of Samuel Scotts purchased 80 acres of land in 1849 and gave his name to the community. In 1870 The Grand Trunk railroad reached Scotts and facilitated the rapid growth of the area into a thriving village. (This would be a big surprise to current visitors)!
By 1881 there were 24 businesses registered in the directory including: two blacksmiths, two druggists, a livery stable, a photographer, two meat markets, a physician, a milliner, a mason, a barber, a cider manufacturer, a manufacturer of artificial limbs, a creamery, flour mill and a saw mill. According to local historian Ron White, "at one time there were three taverns, two hotels, a pickle manufacturer in Scotts and a dance hall located nearby at "McKain's Corner". A devastating fire that burned down about half the town occurred on May 1,1911 and another fire broke out a few years later. The town never recovered completely. Many residents moved away and the population and businesses declined as the City of Kalamazoo and suburbs grew.
Tourists and the Lakes
Beginning in the late 1800's area lakes began to become tourist destinations for individuals around the mid-west. An example would be the popular "Ramona Palace" constructed on the west side of Long Lake. A railroad spur was built, which brought people from as far away as Chicago to enjoy dancing, big band performances and water sports. This location is now a public park operated by the City of Portage. Another resort known as Bucholz Resort or Summer Palace was located at the South end of the lake and is the site of the "Roller Rink". Until it was sold recently, it was one of the oldest such facilities in the State of Michigan.
OLD SCOTTS TRAIN DEPOT 1901
Located at the corner of 36th St. and the railroad tracks. In the 1870's the Grand Trunk railroad reached Scotts, Michigan. This opened up shipping and transportation opportunities for local farmers and manufacturing business, shipping to distant marketplaces. The Village of Scotts began to grow and thrive.
THE TRADITION OF ONE ROOM SCHOOLS
PAVILION SCHOOL #4 1868-1965
Pictured above, a great example located at the corner of 29th St. and Q Ave. This historical, one room school house educated some of the most prominent citizens in our Township. Teacher salaries in the 1880s were around $15.00 per month. In the early days, boys were needed to help in the fields and did not attend school on a regular basis. Classes started at 9:00 AM, dismissed at 4:00 with a one hour lunch and 15 minute recess in the morning and afternoon. The school and property on 29th St. were sold in September of 1965 after 96 years of continuous operation. Gone but not forgotten by the many students that attended.
THE OLD SCOTTS SCHOOLHOUSE
Located near the current school. The bell that used to call the students to class, is on display in front of the Scotts Community Center.
THE DAY ELECTRICITY CAME TO SCOTTS- PARADE DOWNTOWN
1925, a parade was held noting the connection of Scotts to the Electric grid.
Another early photo of the Scotts Depot.
Potowatomi native Americans built small villages in what is now our township.
Historic Scotts Mill remained fully operational into the 20th century. An earlier saw mill was built nearby.
The Scotts Creamery once won an award for "best cheese in Michigan"!
Early photo of Main St. Downtown Scotts, Michigan
Photo of the Scotts Pickle Factory. This structure burned down after many successful years of production.
The "Ramona Palace" complex on Long Lake attracted visitors to it's ballroom dancing, big bands, dining and sandy beaches.
THE MILLIMAN'S STORE AND HOME
Located near the Scotts train depot - later known as the Gibson Store. Burned during the fire of 1911.
THE OLD SAGER MILL
Located at the NE corner of R AVe. & 33rd St.
The Old Livery Stable Located on Mill St. in Scotts. Jake DeKrocker was the "Village Smithy".
THE BEGINNING OF THE DECLINE FOR SCOTTS, MI
On May 1, 1911 a tragic fire destroyed most of the village of Scotts. Subsequent to that, many businesses and residents relocated to other areas.
THE VILLAGE OF PAVILION-LOST TO HISTORY
Only the older residents of our Township remember the small village known as Pavilion. Formerly located near S Ave at the railroad intersection, this was one of several small, but vibrant communities that sprung up along the CK&S railroad in the late 1800's. As the railroad eliminated stops at these small stations for efficiency, the small villages such as "Pavilion" and "McKains Corners" quickly faded away.
THE RAIL-YARD IN PAVILION, MI
THE ME CHURCH -PAVILION MICHIGAN
THE STORE OF W.L. MILLER IN PAVILION, MI 1910
Our heritage extends through the generations, as children experience the rich history of our Township and pass it along to their own children.
1970's photo Scotts Mill. (Find the current Treasurer of Pavilion Township)!
THE OLD PAVILION MILLS OCTOBER 1898
Located at Cooks Pond North of Scotts
ANOTHER LOST VILLAGE-McKAINS CORNERS
Once a thriving community in our Township. Predating the village of Scotts, a Hotel, Dance Halls and businesses were located near "S "Ave. and 34 St. No photos exist, just foundations and an old map from 1873. If you have any old photos of the McKain's Corners, please contact John at Pavilion Township.
A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO PATRICK WHITE
On December 31, 2017, Pat White walked out the doors of Pavilion Township and remarked " take good care of my Township..." For 36 years Mr. White represented this Township as Supervisor and led with integrity, commitment, hard work and patience. He always made time to listen to the residents and excepted both complaints and compliments with the same degree of professionalism and genuine respect.
Patrick White will always remain an integral part of our Township's history.
Respectfully submitted: John R. Speeter, Supervisor, Pavilion Township
A MEMORIAL AND TRIBUTE TO STEVEN SMITH
Steven Smith, March 11, 1951 to November 26, 2018, was an exemplary resident of Pavilion Township. He was a proud member of our Township Fire Department for 45 years and served in the capacity of Chief for many years. Running a successful farm and building profitable trucking business, Steve was a friend to many, and was well known for his generosity and willingness to help those in need. His hard work, honesty, love of the outdoors and great sense of humor are qualities we will all remember. We will all miss you good friend and neighbor. Rest in peace.
Respectfully submitted: John R. Speeter, Supervisor, Pavilion Township