With peak Fall foliage pending, I've recently taken upon driving the scenic route to work. This route takes me through downtown Plainwell via M-89, a town I don't visit nearly as often as I should. Throughout my daily morning commute, I've noticed so many new (to me) pieces of West Michigan history. Despite having grown up in Michigan, I'm amazed at how much I am still learning about my home.

For example, through my new route to work, I learned the reason Plainwell is called the "Island City." It feels like it should be common knowledge, but I was today years old when I found out. Did you know?

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It seems I'm not the only one curious to learn more about my own back yard as Allegan County Informed member Jessica Kranz recently asked,

I’ve noticed these Cookieville signs on 10th St/Douglas coming into Plainwell and leaving...Inquiring minds need to know. I can’t find anything on google

That's a great question Jessica because I've been curious too! I know those exact signs she's referring to and assumed it was just some joke or custom-made homage to the landowner's long-lost pet or something. Boy was I wrong!

Lauren G/TSM
Lauren G/TSM

Thankfully, the Plainwell City Clerk's Office chimed in to set us straight, saying:

These signs were a fun presentation from Commissioner Dugan at a council meeting over the summer. Mayor Keeler has a lot of stories about Cookieville and Commissioner Dugan thought it would be great to put these signs up to mark the historic boundaries of Cookieville.

So...What's a Cookieville?

According to historical records Cookieville used to be a town located in the Gun Plains Township area. Shelley Simons, whose family has owned the former Cookieville farmstead since 1929, claims to know the origins of the bygone town.

Cookieville was located along the old stagecoach line that travelers used to get from Kalamazoo to Grand Rapids. Shelly says the old farmwife used to bake cookies and sell them to passengers at the roadside thus: Cookieville!

via Google Maps
via Google Maps

In addition, Shelly referred to the brick house a.k.a. Sugas Farm located near Baseline Road. Travelers would pay the toll for the road at the brick house and then stop at Paradise Ranch if they needed to change out horses. Adds Shelly,

That is why there is a half circle driveway and our old barn had 4 stalls at each end with 2 sets of double doors...Coaches pulled in, switched out if needed and went on their way...It never was a town - just a stage stop. Our home also had an overnight room for passengers if requested. We call our place Cookieville Farm and it was established in 1865.

So neat to finally have an answer to this mysterious signage. Thanks to Jessica Kranz for poking around and being curious about her own backyard!

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