Plainwell City Manager Erik Wilson is presented a Michigan Milestone plaque for Plainwell’s 150th birthday by Virginia Paganelli Caruso of the Historical Society of Michigan. (Photo by Virginia Ransbottom)

Plainwell gets 150th anniversary accolades

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

A large crowd gathered for the Michigan Milestone Award dedication ceremony to kick off the City of Plainwell’s sesquicentennial year, from 1869 to 2019. The ceremony was Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Plainwell City Hall Council Chambers. City Hall itself is a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places for being the former Michigan Paper Company Mill built in 1886. The mill was not only instrumental in the history and development of the community but also after renovations, a point of pride for Plainwell’s preservation and future development.

“Today we celebrate Plainwell’s past, present and future by acknowledging the past 150 years, celebrating that history all year long, and placing the Michigan Milestone plaque on the Soule Fountain for all future generations to see,” said Plainwell mayor Rick Brooks.

“Rumor has it that the first village president’s campaign slogan was ‘let’s fix the damn roads’ and here we are 150 years later,” he said, alluding to Plainwell’s junction of plank roads and the new governor’s campaign slogan.

Presenting the red, metal Milestone award plaque was Historical Society of Michigan board advisor Virginia Paganelli Caruso of Plainwell.

“We are happy to welcome Plainwell to the select group of Michigan municipalities that have stood the test of time and we are excited to recognize the dedication of the founders of this city and their vision and the follow-through of the subsequent generations of people who have been faithful stewards of the heritage of Plainwell,” she said.

The next scheduled event will be Sunday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 3 p.m., featuring the Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra at Ransom District Library, 180 S. Sherwood Ave.

This free event is part of the Winter Concert Series, and in celebration of Plainwell’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. The Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra’s Burdick-Thorne String Quartet will perform “Music from 150 Years Ago,” with music that was around when the City of Plainwell (Plainfield) was first established. This event is partially sponsored by the Michigan Humanities Council and the Michigan Council for Arts and Community Affairs.

For the complete story—plus the list of the rest of the many events planned to celebrate Plainwell's birthday—pick up a copy of the Jan. 24 issue of The Union Enterprise or subscribe to the e-edition (It's free! Send us an email to to have it sent to you each week). Or visit this link and find it among the list of our many Complementary Publications.

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