charterhouse parma

Parma, Michigan

Parma is a village in Jackson County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 907 at the 2000 census. This was an increase from 875, the population in 1990, and this marks the first time the village of Parma had more than 900 people.

Parma is the birthplace of world-renowned ecologist and soil scientist Dr. Robert E. Horton and NASCAR driver Brian Tyler.


Parma was originally located a few miles east of its current location along the Michigan Central Railroad at a stop known as Gidley's Station. When it was moved to its current location, it was known as Groveland, after a noticeable grove of trees within the town. Part of this grove still exists where Grove St. curves around a copse of trees near its intersection with Westlawn St. in the eastern half of Parma. When the village was incorporated in 1847, its name was changed to Parma. In the early 1900s Parma was also known as Cracker Hill.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.5 km²), all land. Parma is bisected by a township line; as a result, the town lies in both Parma and Sandstone Townships, an interesting twist in an area where townships tend to be more important than villages, at least as far as government goes.


As of the census of 2000, there were 907 people, 310 households, and 233 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,541.2 per square mile (593.6/km²). There were 317 housing units at an average density of 538.7/sq mi (207.4/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 96.14% White, 0.55% African American, 0.88% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.66% from other races, and 1.21% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.65% of the population.

There were 310 households out of which 43.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.7% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 21.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.86 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the village the population was spread out with 33.7% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 30.9% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 8.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 104.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.3 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $39,531, and the median income for a family was $46,429. Males had a median income of $31,307 versus $24,432 for females. The per capita income for the village was $16,483. About 1.8% of families and 3.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.0% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over.

Culture and community

Parma has two United Methodist churches: The North Parma United Methodist Church and the Parma United Methodist Church. North Parma serves the farming congregation to the north and the "Plain Parma" church serves the village congregation. North Parma is a white clapboard country church and "Plain Parma" is an orange brick church. Both churches were served by the same minister until the fall of 2005. Currently the minister assigned to the charge serves only North Parma. The two churches remained formally connected to a certain degree until 2006, when the charge was dissolved. The Parma UMC is now formally connected to the Trinity UMC in Jackson. As of 2007, North Parma remains independent, though this is not necessarily considered to be a permanent arrangement.

Spring Life Church, formerly Howe Wesleyan Church ( was part of the Methodist branch in the area and was started in 1908. In October 1912, it united with the Wesleyan Methodist church and was connected with the Rives Circuit made up of Rives, Robinson and Howe schools. In 1968 it became a Wesleyan Church with the merger of the Wesleyan Methodist and Pilgrim Holiness denominations. In April 2007, the congregation voted to change its name to Spring Life Church to re-emphasize the mission of the church which is to "Cultivate, Plant, and Grow".

Other country churches in the community are Calvary Apostolic Church and Parma Baptist Church.

Nearby communities

Southeast is the community of Spring Arbor. Northwest is the village of Springport. East is the city of Jackson. West is the city of Albion and beyond that the cities of Marshall and Battle Creek, all in Calhoun County.

Parma is on Old U.S. 12, which today is known as Michigan Avenue when it runs through Parma (and most of Southern Michigan). Today, the village has two exits on Interstate 94, which replaced U.S. 12 as the primary route from Detroit to Chicago when the Interstate Highway System was built. The segment of I-94 that services Parma was originally part of the U.S. 12 Bypass, a freeway built prior to the Interstate system that allowed motorists to bypass Jackson and Parma. This is the oldest segment of I-94, beginning at Sargent Rd. in East Jackson and running west to Michigan Avenue outside of Parma. This older segment of the road is identifiable by its median, which is significantly narrower than the rest of I-94.

Parma is also located on the Michigan Central Railroad, which was historically the most significant and is currently the only railway from Detroit to Chicago. At one time Parma had a regular train station, but service was discontinued in 1954, and the old train station building currently serves as a library.

An interurban trolley used to run between Parma and Jackson as well. In 1922, the train derailed and slammed into the jail, which was destroyed and never rebuilt. The scene, which is still remembered by some older residents, was commemorated in 1999 as part of the elaborate "History of Parma" section of the playground at Groner Park.


The Parma Union School District served the village and surrounding rural areas until 1957, when it consolidated with other school districts to form the Western School District. High school students from Parma therefore currently attend Western High School, which Parma shares with nearby Spring Arbor and the western edge of Jackson. The high school, along with the junior high and district administration, are located three miles east of the village of Parma. One of the district's three elementaries, Parma Elementary School, is located on the south side of the village, near the site of the demolished Parma High School. The other two elementary schools are in the Spring Arbor area. When Parma Elementary was first built (in 1952), the Kindergarten class met in the Masonic Temple in Parma until the school was ready to open.

Spring Arbor University is located about six miles away, while Albion College is nine miles distant. Parma is also served by Jackson Community College.

Industry and Commerce

Parma is historically and traditionally an agricultural community, and most of the surrounding area remains used for that purpose. During the last 20 years, the farming atmosphere has been eroded by hints of urban sprawl from the Jackson area, as well as a general decline in the viability of family farming.

There are a handful of small manufacturing concerns in the area, located mostly along the Michigan Avenue corridor. The community scored quite a coup in the early 1990's with the construction of Michigan Automotive Compressors, Inc., a car parts plant run by a Japanese company. It provides significant employment for the area.

Commercially, Parma is dependent on Jackson for a great many things. A lament common in the Parma community is that there is no real grocery store. The Parma IGA was destroyed by a fire in June 2000 and was replaced in 2007 by a Dollar General.

See also


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