The History of Coopersville

In 1845, Benjamin Cooper of Utica, New York, purchased 640 acres in northeast Ottawa County to harvest timber. The area
was heavily forested and had close proximity to the Grand River where timber could be transported to Grand Haven, a major
shipping port on the Great Lakes. With the help of his two sons, Cooper built a sawmill.

In 1850, Benjamin Cooper offered the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way on his land. In exchange for this, the railroad agreed to build only this depot for five to six miles in any direction. The building of this train depot helped establish the new town of Coopersville. The first train passed through the blossoming town of Coopersville on its way to Grand Haven in the fall of 1858.

Coopersville was incorporated as a village in 1871. The population in 1871 was 500. Gradually the forests became fields, and farming replaced lumbering.

The primary business district on Main Street was destroyed by a fire in 1893 and again in 1898. The Interurban Building at 363 Main Street was built for the Grand Rapids, Grand Haven and Muskegon Railway, which began operations in 1902. Its electric interurban service consisted of a main line running from Grand Rapids to Muskegon, with a branch from Fruitport to Grand Haven.

Coopersville grew slowly and by 1940 had doubled its population to 1,083 individuals. Over the last 60 years the community has continued to grow over 2 percent annually with a population of 4,275 in 2010. Even with this growth, Coopersville still maintains its rural ambiance with over 50 percent of land within the city limits still committed to agriculture.

On August 29, 1966, the Coopersville Charter Commission voted to approve a Charter that changed Coopersville from a village to a home rule city. The move to city status was approved by the electorate on December 13,1966. On January 1,1967, Coopersville became a city adding over three square miles to bring the total incorporated area to almost five square miles.

Over the years the city has been blessed with farsighted leaders who insured an excellent infrastructure to support the 15 of 36 needs of the area residents. In 1978 the city connected to the Grand Rapids water supply system greatly increasing the quantity and quality of the city’s water. Since 1903, many improvements have been made to the sanitary sewer system guaranteeing future capacity and assuring the system meets state and federal standards.

Coopersville looks to the future with confidence knowing a firm foundation has been constructed to meet any challenges.