History of Tallmadge Township

Tallmadge was first settled by T.B. Woodbury in 1835 and was organized in the home of Mr. Stoddard in 1838. It was named after another pioneer, Mr. Tallmadge. The township is in the eastern section of Ottawa County.

RABERNE MANOR, 0-357 LEONARD ROAD. The original gingerbread and Michigan hardwoods are features of this stately Queen Anne Victorian-style house. Three sets of solid oak double-sliding doors separate the main floor living quarters. The center hall's carved, spindled oak staircase leads to a stained glass heart-shaped window on the landing. The ballroom-sized attic is illuminated by colorful stained glass panes. Built in the 1870s by Rollie Pelton, Raberne Manor is being restored.

THE UNUSUAL ROUND BARN, 0-11710 -- 14th AVENUE. It took John Smith four long years to build this round barn in 1907. The lumber was hauled from lowlands across the road. He had the wood cut in Tallmadge and then hauled the timber to Grand Rapids to be kiln-dried and shaped. The barn is two hundred seventeen feet in diameter and sixty feet from top to base. In the center is a round silo, which prevented silage from freezing in winter. The present owner, Jerry Zerfas, marvels at the ahead-of-its-time design; it provides for thirty-six cows, and the silo is an automatic feeder.

OLD TOWN HALL, 0-1810 LEONARD ROAD. This was built in the late 1800s on Townhouse Drive. The beams underneath the hall were cut by the sawmill on Sand Creek. The building was moved in 1940 to the present Leonard Road site. Living quarters in the rear were added in the 1970s, but the original outhouse remains at the rear of the property. At one time a fire from an unattended coal stove did some damage, but the building was repaired. However, the firebarn burned completely and was not replaced.

THE GRANGE HALL, 0-1845 LEONARD ROAD. Cement sentinels shaped like dogs greet visitors who drive past Tallmadge Grange Hall, now converted into a business office. The wooden two-story structure is about one hundred fifty years old according to its current owners. The second floor was the Great Meeting Room, probably hosting many square dances and socials.

CENTURY-OLD CHURCH, 0-1880 LEONARD ROAD. Across the road from the Grange Hall is the 100-year-old-plus former Tallmadge Wesleyan Church, now the Church of God, 7th Day Adventist. A wooden building complete with bell tower summons a weary traveler inside for a few solitary moments of peaceful reflection.

LAMONT ON THE GRAND. Lamont was founded in 1835. Lamont was called Steele's Landing and then Middleville because of its location between Grand Rapids and Grand Haven on the stagecoach run. "Tradition recalls the story of how the hamlet got its present name. In the village was a storekeeper who sold farm machinery. As it happened, the man kept a new road scraper in his store window, and the village council took a shine to the piece. The council soon discovered it had no money in its treasury to buy the scraper, so members decided to make the storekeeper an offer. The council proposed to trade the scraper for the honor of having the village named after the man. Apparently, the storekeeper accepted, and in 1857 the State Legislature changed the name of the village. Lamont Chubb's name was handed down through the generations in lieu of a much-needed piece of road equipment."

Lamont at this time was in the surveyed pathway of a proposed railroad to link Detroit and Grand Rapids with a route to Lake Michigan. People resisted the proposed line, desiring the keep the river as the main means of transportation. Coopersville and Berlin were more agreeable to the railroad.

Transcriber: Leslie Coulson
Created: 15 November 2005
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/twprecords/tallmadge/history.html