On the eastern boundary with Sparta Township, Gooding was a station on the Toledo, Saginaw and Muskegon Railway in Kent County. A post office was established in November 1888 and named after storekeeper/postmaster Richard J. Gooding. In June 1918, the post office was transferred to a site on the Ottawa County side and remained in operation until January 1923. The most noticeable remnant of Gooding is in the name give to Gooding Street, which runs east-west across the township, passing just south of Crockery Lake. The street continues as 13 Mile Road in Kent County and as Ellis Road in Muskegon County.
About one mile south of Gooding, is the site of the former village of Lisbon. This was first settled by John Pintler from New York in 1846. A post office was established in Ottawa County in 1848 with the name "Pintler's Corners". The name was changed in 1859 to Lisbon. In March 1869, a village was incorporated, extending one half mile in each direction from the northwest corner of section 30 of Sparta Township (thus including a quarter section of section 19 to the north in Sparta Township as well as quarter sections of sections 24 and 25 in Chester Township. However, railroad lines bypassed the village and it did not prosper, eventually disincorporating.
The township protrudes to the north of the rest of Ottawa County, and is bounded on the west and north by Muskegon County and on the east by Kent County. Polkton Township lies to the southwest and Wright Township to the south.
No major roads pass through the township, although Interstate 96 passes just to the south. The city of Coopersville is just a few miles to the southwest. Grand Haven is about 20 miles to the west, while Grand Rapids is about 15 miles to the southeast.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 35.9 square miles (92.9 km²), of which, 35.7 square miles (92.4 km²) of it is land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km²) of it (0.47%) is water.
Grose Park is a 40-acre county park overlooking the north side of Crockery Lake and provides a variety of recreational opportunities including swimming, fishing, sand volleyball and picnicking. There is about one mile of hiking trails along Lange Creek. Major improvements were made in 2000 to Grose Park as part of a $660,000 renovation with about 60% of the funding coming from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund.
There were 714 households out of which 41.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 70.3% were married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.9% were non-families. 14.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 4.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.99 and the average family size was 3.32.
In the township the population was spread out with 30.9% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 31.1% from 25 to 44, 18.5% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 104.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.0 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $46,328, and the median income for a family was $51,900. Males had a median income of $39,286 versus $27,159 for females. The per capita income for the township was $18,197. About 6.0% of families and 10.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.0% of those under age 18 and 4.1% of those age 65 or over.