Michigan’s Oldest (1831) Still-Standing Land Office is in This Town
The town of White Pigeon, St. Joseph County, was founded and settled by John Winchell in 1827. The first post office was named 'Millville' in 1828 which was re-named 'White Pigeon Prairie' in 1833.
It was so-named to honor Chief White Pigeon (Wahbememe) who sacrificed his own life to save the area settlers. The legend says he was in Detroit when he heard of a planned Indian attack; he then ran across Michigan to White Pigeon to alert the settlers. Once there, he collapsed and died.
In January of 1835, 'Prairie' was dropped from the name and it was then on known as 'White Pigeon'.
White Pigeon also happens to be the location of the oldest land office still standing in Michigan.
According to their Facebook page, in 1831 after the land was surveyed, the land office was open for business. For the following three years, approximately 260,000 acres of land were sold at a mere $1.25 per acre. It's the oldest land office still standing in Michigan, and one of a handful in the former Northwest Territory. It is currently being used as a museum.
If you head out to White Pigeon, visit the old land office, see some original old downtown structures, and visit the memorial park of Chief White Pigeon. It makes for a good roadtrip!
WHITE PIGEON GALLERY