Village of Muir

Village of Muir

Ionia County, MI

A History of Muir

The Village of Muir is located on a tract of land first improved by W.Z. Blanchard and J.C. Blanchard, who cleared a farm there, built a farm house and barn, and installed a farmer as tenant. In 1856, when the signs of the times disclosed that the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad was making westward, A.L. Soule, R.L. Robinson, A.B. Robinson and Isaac Evertt, extensive owners of Michigan pine lands, particularly along the Maple River and Fish Creek, bought the Blanchard farm, proposing, first to establish a steam saw mill at that point on the river, and secondly, to secure the construction of the railway through the neighborhood and the locating of the station on their property.

Gets the Railroad

Lyons, the sister village to the south, was also planning upon being on the railroad and its citizens thought that everything was in order for such a plan. However, the matter of raising a promised $10,000 to aid the new road was delayed and the company, tired of waiting, accepted Soule’s proposition.

Soule immediately built a steam saw mill capable of cutting about 20,000 feet of lumber daily, and platted a village which he and his associates called Montrose. The first business improvement was a hotel put up in June, 1856, by George W. French. This tavern was opened by Smith and Barnard in the fall of that year and at the same time French and Chamberlain built a store.

Station in Barn

Also, at this time two small grocery stores were opened by Marvin Greenwood and William Smith, and Vincent Palmer opened a blacksmith shop. Darwin Lyin was appointed station agent. For a time, the depot was in the old Blanchard barn, improved for the purpose. In the spring of 1857, Montrose began to look up and the milling industry developed, population grew rather rapidly.

Saw Mill Industry

A.B. Robinson built a store across from French and Chamberlain and leased it to Dr. W.A. Blanchard, who retained it one season and then sold it to Staley Brothers. The second saw mill was built by Armstrong, Fox, and Dibble and carried on by Aaron Abby and Son. The saw mill industry expanded into important proportions and pushed the town forward. Between the years 1870 and 1873, the amount of lumber cut totaled about fifteen million feet annually. The mills were those of the Wagar Lumber Company (started by Wagar, Fox, Armstrong and Company); Marvin and Smith; J. Begole and Company; Abby, French and Company. There were also W. P. Hewitt’s shingle mill and James Smith’s Sash and Blind Factory.

In 1864, when H.R. Wagar opened a drug store, there were but two other stores. The next store was that of Wagar and French in 1863. In 1863, Gardner and Adams built a grist mill.

Name is Changed

In 1860, the name of the village was changed from Montrose to Muir. The existence in the state of another post office named Montrose occasioned confusion in the sorting of mails, and as H. K. Muir, the then superintendent of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railway, had favored the tow, it was decided to honor him by naming the village after him.

Excerpt Taken from Lyons/Muir Michigan Bicentennial Committee Book 1976