Maple Rapids' history begins in the early 1800s, when a tribe of Ottawas used the land to make maple sugar. It was in 1826 when the first white man settled in the area which would become Clinton County. That man was George Campau, the brother of Louis Campau, who founded Grand Rapids.

The History of Village of Maple Rapids page states that George opened up a trading post in 1832, and named his new community 'Maple Rapids', thanks to nearby rapids on the Maple River. When William Hewitt showed up in 1852, he built a sawmill and dam, later adding a hotel and store to the community. A post office was set up in 1857. Platted in the 1850s, Maple Rapids was surveyed all over again in 1867, re-platted, and finally incorporated as a village in 1881.

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Maple Rapids did not make its fortune in maple sugar, however. The fortunes were made with timber, during the height of Michigan's lumber boom.

Maple Rapids was also the location of one of Michigan historic bridges, the Maple River Road Bridge, which had been closed to traffic since the mid-1980s. The Historic Bridges site says it was built in 1888 and met the same fate as the Bell Road Bridge in Washtenaw County. Although the Bell Road Bridge was dismantled and stored away, the Maple River Road Bridge ended up collapsing three days after April Fool's Day, 2013. Five months later, on September 7, the bridge was scrapped and stored away.

Lots of rustic atmosphere awaits any traveler to the area. The Maple River State Game Area & Wildlife Preserve, and Uncle John's Cider Mill, which is just eight miles east.

Take a look at some old photos below!



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