Definitions

Crockery Township, MI

Crockery Township, Michigan

Crockery Township is a civil township of Ottawa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the township population was 3,782.

Communities

There are no incorporated municipalities within the township.

  • Nunica is an unincorporated community located near the center of the township, close to the junction of I-96 and M-104 at the first white settlers were Manley Patchin in 1836 and William Hathaway, Jr. in 1839. Hathaway became the first postmaster of "Crockery Creek" on February 7, 1848. The name of the post office was changed to "Nunica" on January 8, 1859. The settlement was first platted by Henry Ernst in 1865. The name Nunic is derived from the Native American word menonica, meaning "clay earth", from which pottery was made. This clay was also the origin for the name of Crockery Creek. The Nunica ZIP code 49448 serves most of Crockery Township, as well as portions of Sullivan Township in Muskegon County to the north and small areas of Polkton Township to the east.
  • Ottawa Center was a historical settlement along the Grand River in the southeast corner of Crockery Township at . Benjamin Smith became the first postmaster on July 11, 1853. A plat was recorded and entered in 1855. The name reflects its central location (east-west) and was considered as candidate for the county seat by county supervisors in 1856.
  • Spoonville was a historical settlement where Crockery Creek flows into the Grand River. It was given a station on Chicago and Michigan Lake Shore Railroad in 1870. A swing bridge over the Grand River operated from 1871 until 1881 when it was abandoned in favor of another line.
  • The city Coopersville is to the east, and the Coopersville ZIP code 49404 serves areas in the eastern part of Crockery Township.
  • The village of Fruitport is to the north, and the Fruitport ZIP code 49415 serves areas in the northwest part of Crockery Township.
  • The village of Spring Lake is to the west, and the Spring Lake ZIP code 49456 serves areas in the southwest part of Crockery Township.

Geography

Spring Lake Township lies to the west, Muskegon County is to the north, and Polkton Township to the east. The Grand River forms the southern boundary, with Allendale Charter Township to the southeast, Robinson Township to the south, and Grand Haven Charter Township to the southwest. The Grand Haven urban area is about west of the center of the township and Coopersville is about to the east.

The township is drained entirely by tributaries of the Grand River, including the Crockery Creek in the eastern portion.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 33.4 square miles (86.4 km²), of which, 32.7 square miles (84.7 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.7 km²) of it (1.98%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,782 people, 1,393 households, and 1,062 families residing in the township. The population density was 115.6 per square mile (44.6/km²). There were 1,475 housing units at an average density of 45.1/sq mi (17.4/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 96.59% White, 0.63% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.74% from other races, and 1.35% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.72% of the population.

There were 1,393 households out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.7% were married couples living together, 8.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 19.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the township the population was spread out with 27.6% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 31.5% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 9.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 108.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 103.2 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $42,399, and the median income for a family was $50,219. Males had a median income of $39,031 versus $27,552 for females. The per capita income for the township was $19,089. About 5.6% of families and 6.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.5% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.

History

The Western Michigan region has been inhabited by the Ottawa Native Americans for centuries. It is from this tribe that the county takes its name.

The first European explorers in the Ottawa County region were the French-Canadian explorers Louis Joliet and Father Jacques Marquette who passed through the region in the mid 17th century.

European settlement in the area proceeded slowly until the mid 19th century, when zinc was discovered in Crockery Creek in 1858. (Barnes, 1997) In 1872, the town of Nunica was officially incorporated, the name taken from the Ottawa word for zinc. The 1880 census showed approximately 1,000 settlers in the region. (Barnes, 1997)

Nunica experienced rapid growth in population in the early 20th century as settlers came to the region to mine zinc and farm. The settlement process was aided by the Grand Haven-Detroit branch of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad on which Nunica was an important stop. The 1920 census shows Nunica at the peak of its population, with 8,000 citizens.

By 1924 the zinc ore in the region had been completely exhausted. Coupled with a particularly severe influenza outbreak in 1927 that claimed the lives of nearly 800 people from the town, the population of Nunica declined precipitously. The 1930 census shows the population of Nunica as 5,000.

In 1935 nearly one-third of Nunica was destroyed by fire, in what became known locally as the great Nunica fire. It is speculated that the fire began when the Nunica train station was struck by lightning. (Barnes, 1997:35) In either case, the train station that had served as the main source of livelihood for the town was completely destroyed, along with such forgotten landmarks as the Nunica Conservatory for Music and other Fine Arts and the Nunica casino. None of these landmarks were ever rebuilt. In addition, nearly of farmland were completely destroyed.(Barnes, 1997)

Since the train station was never rebuilt, Nunica never recovered from the devastating fire and the population went into freefall. By 1950 there were only 1,000 citizens in the greater Nunica area. In 1957 the town was unincorporated. The current population of Nunica is estimated at 400. (Barnes, 1997)

Notes and references

  • Barnes, Elizabeth. (1997). Boom and Bust: A Brief Oral History of Nunica, Grand Rapids: Kent Publishing House.
  • U.S. census data for Crockery township, 1880-1970.

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