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Learn About the History of Cedar Springs

1 month ago · ·Comments Off on Learn About the History of Cedar Springs

Learn About the History of Cedar Springs

Cedar Springs is a beautiful place to live, especially if you are looking for first-rate manufactured/mobile home communities. In general, Cedar Springs has been cultivating their mobile home communities and parks to be more accommodating as well as offer more perks. Thus, if you are on your way to this lovely Michigan city with moving boxes in tote, you have made an excellent decision.

As you settle in, or even beforehand, it never hurts to learn a little more about your new community and city. One way to truly get a feel for a place is to get better acquainted with its history. So, here’s a brief synopsis of Cedar Springs’ humble logging and red flannel beginnings.

1850s to 1870s

The city of Cedar Springs was once one of the many lumber towns in Michigan that were fully operational in 1856. In fact, Michigan was the nation’s top timber producer at this time, and its sawmills were easily the most efficient worldwide. With lumber and shingle mills, agricultural farms, and a convenient access point to the tri-state railroad, Cedar Springs was booming with activity as well as leading the charge for Michigan’s timber production. People who settled here during this period did well for themselves and helped to turn this future city into a significant logging hub that is still celebrated to this day (logging and harsh winters brought about the rise of the celebratory Red Flannel Festival). Nevertheless, this lumber town wasn’t officially incorporated as a village until late March, 1871. Fun fact: this village/town got its name from the fine springs that bordered a cedar grove.

1880s to 1900s

As time went on, the village of Cedar Springs experienced urban sprawl and a bustling downtown area, ie., Main Street was established. Yet, despite an influx of businesses, people, and residential properties, this city’s economy still very much depended on the logging industry up until the late 1880s when forested lands started to become depleted. Subsequently, a pivotal moment in Cedar Springs’ history was the construction of the Saginaw and Muskegon Railway, later named the Grand Trunk Western Railroad, in 1887/1888. This railway transported just about everything, including flour, wheat, passengers (many of which were tourists), and mail.

1910s to 1930s

Though the Grand Trunk Western Railroad helped to diversify Cedar Springs’ economy and bring more tourists to the area, there was eventually a decline in railway transport and transportation in general in the early-mid 1900s. This left Cedar Springs to refocus its energy into logging once again.

Fun fact: this city hosts an annual Red Flannel Festival thanks to one of the harshest winters in 1936, a New York writer looking for red flannels in the US, and a Cedar Springs business-savvy merchant who knew how to market his product. Since 1939, Red Flannel Day/Festival has been a thing here and shows no signs of stopping after 81 years.

1940s to 1960s

Along those same lines, the Red Flannel Factory was established in 1952 by Sally Wall. Up until this point in history, despite the overwhelming popularity of red flannel undergarments, Cedar Springs did not actually make red flannel garments. However, Mrs. Wall saw the opportunity to change that fact and operated the Red Flannel Factory for roughly 40 years. The production of red flannel wear in Cedar Springs continues and is a viable part of this town’s past, present, and future.

1970s to 1990s

By the late 1970s, logging was no longer a prominent vocation here. Thanks to Mrs. Wall, and others, Cedar Springs set its sights on manufacturing, which is still this city’s most common occupation to date. Other professions like retail trade, healthcare jobs, and education services trail close behind, but still are no match for the manufacturing industry in Cedar Springs. Moreover, the overall population in this city hadn’t changed much since its incorporation in 1871. Yet, suddenly in the mid-1970s, this community saw one of its first real growth spurts and never looked back. By the 1990s, Cedar Springs had doubled in size, which many attribute to an increase in manufacturing employment opportunities.

2000s to Present

Though still die-hard red flannel lovers, Cedar Springs has reinvented itself as a city time and time again. Thus, it is not too surprising that this city continues to flourish to this day and is a fantastic place to live, work, and play. Manufactured/Mobile home communities are first-rate here, its business district is vibrant, and recreational adventures are waiting for you around every corner. Furthermore, this lively city, with a rich history, is only 20 minutes out from one of Michigan’s “big cities,” Grand Rapids, which offers even more entertainment and annual funfair.

Everyday Life In Cedar Springs

So, now that you have purchased a pair of red flannel drop-seat long johns and packed up your former residence, it’s time to get settled into your new manufactured home in Cedar Springs. Armed with the knowledge of this city’s backstory, you should have no trouble at all navigating this small-town community with ease. Once you have settled in officially, take the day and get a taste of everyday life here. Of course, one of the simplest ways to do this is to explore your present-day community.

Exploring Your Community

Cedar Springs is the perfect size for you to take in the major sights and sounds in a weekend, but not all. So, decide where you want to start first. If you want to check out all the historical sites, you will definitely have your work cut out for you. Then again, if you’re a nature lover and want to jump right into all the outdoor recreation, maybe save the 93-mile Fred Meijer White Pine Trail for later. Of course, no matter the plan of attack you devise, you are going to need to eat something. Hence, you might want to try out some of the local favorites.

Historical Sites

Clearly, Cedar Springs is brimming with history; therefore, you may want to start with the easy stuff, like the Cedar Springs Historical Museum. Here you can get a quick rundown of the area and see how this city has changed over the last 200 years. At the museum, you will come across the famed one-room Payne School. This relic of the past is undeniably a must-see while you are there.

Later, maybe stop by another building with deep roots in this community—the Kent Theatre. Still fully operational, this theatre is located on Main Street and was constructed in the 1880s. At that time, the Hubbard Opera House, as it was called, was the stage for traveling acts. Fast forward to the 1920s, this building was now the Empire Theater, which played the best picture shows. By 1930, this now-movie theatre was updated and renamed the Kent Theatre.


After learning more about the Kent Theatre and its 120-year run, maybe grab a bite to eat. If you’re looking for a burger and a beer, then Cedar Springs Brewing Company is for you. Other local eateries included Stein Brother’s Pizza Co., Red Bird, Classic Kelly’s, Flo’s Wood Fired Pizzeria, Momma’s Boy, Ramona’s Table, and more. The Corner Bar and Lakeside Inn are two more local treats to frequent.

Outdoor Recreation

Lastly, if you came for outdoor fun, then get ready. Cedar Springs has an abundance of parks, recreational spaces, community gardens, and four-wheeler/snowmobile trails. There is also an amphitheater and the North Kent Community Enrichment Center. The NKCE Center is truly a one-stop-shop for activities, so enjoy and welcome home.

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Must-See Places in Cedar Springs, Michigan

2 months ago · ·Comments Off on Must-See Places in Cedar Springs, Michigan

Must-See Places in Cedar Springs, Michigan

Cedar Springs is a small town of around 3,500 people, located just 20 minutes north of Grand Rapids. The town is home to a small retail business district and industrial base, and it was named for nearby springs bordered by a cedar grove. Residents are connected to the greater Grand Rapids area via US-131. Cedar Springs has the charm of a very small town while offering big city amenities.

There is rich history in Cedar Springs to be celebrated. Explore the Cedar Springs Museum or visit Trestle Park to see a piece of historical railroad. Celebrate Red Flannel Day with the community on the first Saturday in October. See a show or attend a community event at the historical Kent Theatre. There are also newer attractions, like Deer Tracks Junction and Cedar Springs Brewery. You can also enjoy swimming and fishing at Long Lake Park.

Cedar Springs Museum

Tour local history at the Cedar Springs Museum. You will be able to see an old general store, railroad displays, an old stump puller and the one-room Payne School. The Payne School was moved to Morley Park in 1971 and has been renovated to show visitors the era of public education when one teacher taught all grades. The School contains desks, a teacher’s stick, an American flag, a pot belly stove, and the recitation bench. Free tours are available and groups can rent the School for educational purposes too. Other displays inside the museum are focused on Native American history, lumbering, farming and more. Cedar Springs was originally established as a lumber town. There were many lumber and shingle mills throughout the town. It was also a crossing point for several railroad lines. Finally, the museum is home to a genealogy catalog that can be accessed for free.

Trestle Park

Located just 10 minutes south of Cedar Springs is Trestle Park. The park was established in 2012 to commemorate the historical logging days. Centered around an old stone trestle, the park also features an authentic anchor from Houghton Lake, a pavilion and a play area for kids. White Pine Trail runs near Trestle Park and there is a connector trail. White Pine Trail is a 92.6 mile network that runs through Kent, Mescosta, Montcalm, Osceola and Wexford counties. There are concerts there in the Summer too.

Red Flannel Festival

Red Flannel Day has been celebrated in Cedar Springs for over 80 years. The story goes that a New Yorker was searching for long red flannel underwear during one of the harshest Winters of the Great Depression and Pollock’s Store in downtown Cedar Springs had a large stock. They received many orders for years until the town was named “The Red Flannel Town.” Residents believe the red flannels helped keep Cedar Springs on the map while many small towns were being bypassed or fading away. Each year, there is a grand parade, decorating contest, photo contest and a pie eating contest. There is also a 5k and 10k run-walk. The festival includes an arts & crafts fair and plenty of local food. There is even Red Flannel Royalty, where a Queen is named. Also, kindergarteners in the Cedar Springs school district can compete in the Prince and Princess contest.

Deer Tracks Junction

For a fun family outing, be sure to check out Deer Tracks Junction. Get up close and personal with your favorite farm animals, like pigs, goats, donkeys, bunnies, camels and alpacas. You can feed most of the animals if you purchase the farm’s foods (carrots, pellets or tweet stix). Seasonally, you can also bottle feed baby animals. Deer and elk of all ages also call the farm home. There is a fun barn for kids to play. It is full of tunnels, nets and giant slides. There is also a sandbox, a rubber duck racing tank and a four story mine and train play area. There are also dedicated spaces for young children. If that is not enough for you, Deer Tracks Junction also has homemade ice cream. They make all of the delicious ice cream on the farm. The menu features classic flavors and specialties.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company

Cedar Springs Brewing Company was founded in 2013 by David Ringler, who’s title is now Director of Happiness. Located on Main Street, Cedar Springs Brewing Company is at the heart of this small town. Cedar Springs Brewery serves traditional Bavarians styles of beer and Amepixarican craft options. The kitchen also features pub fare and a German Bavarian menu. The brewery supports its local community through the Community Give Back program. Residents can apply for support through the online application. Cedar Springs Brewing Company also hosts a farmer’s market every Thursday during the summer. Vendors set up near the German-inspired brewery to sell locally made goods.

Long Lake Park

Fifteen minutes west of Cedar Springs is Long Lake Park. Michigan is known for its lakes, and Cedar Springs residents can enjoy some of the perks at Long Lake. The park is designed well for group events with several picnic areas and shelters. Long Lake park is located right on Long Lake itself, with a mile of shoreline. You can enjoy swimming, fishing and non-motorized boating on the lake. There is a public beach at the park, perfect for summertime. There are also baseball diamonds, room for biking and more.

Kent Theatre

At the center of Cedar Springs, you will find Kent Theatre. It is over 120 years old and was originally built as the Hubbard Opera House. It was first used for entertainment and gatherings like dances, chicken suppers, school graduations, political rallies and silent movies. The theatre closed its doors in 1975, but was reopened by the Cedar Springs Theatre Association in 1998. Volunteers worked to fundraise and make improvements to the historical landmark. Today, the theatre is community-owned and operated. There are regular films, live theatre and public presentations. Local organizations can use the theatre as a meeting place or for musical events. Upcoming events are listed on the Kent Theatre website.

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