Caledonia: History

CaledoniaSent1912The area of Caledonia was founded in the mid 1800’s with the arrival of white settlers in township number five in Kent County. Ashael Kent and his family built their house into an inn because they lived on Whitneyville Avenue, which was the main route between Grand Rapids and cities such as Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. Later in the 1850’s, Oscar B. Barber was a farmer that ran as the postmaster at the post office inside the tavern. Across his farm he built the Barber School, which only had one room at the time but it was the first school built in the area. In 1860, the tavern was sold to Warren Streeter, but it didn’t last long as John Proctor moved to the township in 1867 and bought all 150 acres, which included the tavern and post office. After many years of the tavern operating, John Proctor took it down in 1869 to build more farms on his property.

In August 1870, a property owner in the area, David Kinsey, laid out part of his farm for a village around the Caledonia Station on the Michigan Central Line. It was officially coined as Caledonia village when it was put in place on January 21, 1888, and even though the village wasn’t in the same area as where the Kent Family arrived, that area is considered the east side of the town. As time went on, businesses and schools were starting to develop and both the township and village of Caledonia experienced more settlers moving to the area. The rural landscape of Caledonia village has coped with the country’s change from an agricultural to an industrial work base.