The Ionia County Town of Clarksville, Early 1900s
If you attempt to do any "last train to Clarksville" jokes to any townsfolk here...they've heard 'em all, dozens, hundreds, THOUSANDS of times throughout the years (even so, the town uses that phrase on their official website). But yes, there is a railroad that cuts through Clarksville, the Pere Marquette, that still operates to this day. The "Last Train To Clarksville" was probably yesterday...
The small Michigan town of Clarksville has plenty of quaint, old original storefronts dotting the downtown area. It's located 43 miles west of Lansing, 28 miles east of Grand Rapids, and 2 1/2 miles south of I-96 on Nash Highway in the southwest corner of Ionia County, nestled in Campbell Township.
Campbell Township, which originated in 1840, was named by the only family of settlers in the area: two Irish brothers, Jeremiah & Martin Campbell and their families. Previous to 1840, NO white people ever lived in that 6-mile square area and the Campbells became the only people living there from 1840 to 1847. That could be due to the swampy, marshy land that had no roads; they had to travel by water via (what is now called) Duck Creek.
After roads were surveyed, more settlers arrived; in 1875, Clark L. Howard erected a store at the corners between sections 3 & 10 and soon established a post office. Howard named the post office "Clarksville" after himself and that small section of Campbell Township has been known as "Clarksville" ever since. By now, the town had a church, two doctors, grange hall, a couple of one-room schoolhouses, various other stores, and a wagon shop.
Today, the town just may be a cool, historic stop to make when you travel through our state on a Michigan roadtrip. Check out more details on their website.
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