HISTORIC SMALLTOWN MICHIGAN: Woodland in Barry County
The Barry County town of Woodland lies a tad west of Clinton County and a smidgen south of Ionia County, standing alone in the Michigan countryside. The closest towns are Lake Odessa and Woodbury, each about 5 miles away.
Referred to as a "bedroom community" of Lansing and Grand Rapids, Woodland got its origins in 1837 when Charles & Jonathon Galloway and Charles Haight settled in the area. The town, township and nearby village of Woodbury were all named thanks to all the thick woods that covered the land for miles and miles.
Woodland began to grow quickly when the CK&S (Chicago, Kalamazoo, Saginaw) Railway was laid through the town in 1889; thanks to the businesses the rails brought, the town was incorporated as a village in 1892.
Woodland Township has a total area of 35.9 square miles, and beginning around 1853, many businesses began to spring up in the township. They included a blacksmith, drug store, dry goods store, shoe shop, post office, bank, general store, numerous doctors, hardware store, churches, millinery shop, grist mill, schoolhouses, roller mill, elevator, oar factory, creamery, fire insurance company, gas & electric company and numerous other shops and stores.
With a total area of 0.82 square miles, the town of Woodland population was 495 according to the 2000 census; by 2010 it had dwindled to 425.
Woodland's historic town hall still stands, built in 1867 for only $2,000. It has it's own historical marker, and - I believe - it is used for meetings to this day.
Take a drive through Woodland and get a nice slice of historic Michigan pie; lots of great photo ops, thanks to the numerous old stores still standing. Downtown Woodland has one of the coolest strips of historic storefronts I've seen in smalltown Michigan!