First of four-part history series running this week
Chesterfield roots run deep
When people around Michigan talk about Chesterfield, they are usually talking about Chesterfield Township, or more formally, the Charter Township of Chesterfield.
However, back in the days when most of the local townships were mainly farmlands, settlements and/or train stops within them would often be given the name of the township, almost like it was the “capital” of the township. (Examples include Lenox, which was the name of a small settlement near a railroad stop in Lenox Township, now part of the City of Richmond; Shelby Station or Shelby Crossing at 25 Mile Road in Shelby Township; and Ray of Ray Township.)
Around 1830, before Michigan was even a state, there was also a small community (or “hamlet,” as some of the early history books call it) with about 50 people at 22 Mile and Gratiot. This community was known as Chesterfield and had an official U.S. Post Office with that name from 1875 until 1907.
Railroad establishes population
In 1865 the Grand Trunk Railroad established a stop there and the small community of 50 grew to more than 200. These are United States Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) 1917 photos of the 22 Mile and Gratiot railroad station, which was built in 1898, including the outbuildings and the back of the building.
Besides the railroad station, the hamlet had a blacksmith shop, a cider mill, a grocer/general store (where the post office was located), and a schoolhouse.
Check back with Patch tomorrow for more on this series.
For more information about the small towns and villages of Chesterfield Township, check out Images of America: Chesterfield Township by Alan Naldrett. The book is available in the local public libraries or can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other popular online sites. It may also be purchased at the Chesterfield Public Library, the Chesterfield Treasurer’s office, Ecco Bookstore, and Preston Automotive.