Litchfield, Michigan: Then and Now, 1900-2000s
Before you look at the gallery, here's a brief bio of Litchfield, located in the township of the same name in Hillsdale County.
Litchfield was settled in 1834 by Samuel Riblet and Henry Stevens. However, in 1836 the town was not platted by those two; instead, that task was handled by Hervey & David Smith, who proceeded to name the town 'Smithville' after themselves.
In February 1837, a post office began operations, with the name 'Columbus'. A few months later in August, it was re-named 'Litchfield' after Litchfield, Connecticut, where some of the original settlers journeyed from. The town was also a railway stop along the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railroad.
In 1894, Litchfield's downtown business block was devastated by fire – all burned down in less than an hour. In the March 30, 1894 edition of 'The Clare Sentinel', it read: “Fire in the Bunday block, Litchfield, destroyed the entire row. Loss on the buildings $5,000, no insurance. Ten business firms were turned into the streets”.
And a little over ten years later, on November 1904, thieves used explosives to blow up the bank safe around 2:20am. According to the local 'Gazette' newspaper, "Before the robbers left the bank at least 25 people knew the bank was being robbed and of this number at least 5 had guns in their possession; and yet the marauders escaped without a shot being fired".
So as you see, Litchfield had its ups & downs like any other town. But that's not what this article is about. It's about what Litchfield looked like all those years ago, with photo comparisons to what it looks like now. So before you look at the gallery below, make it a point to pay a visit to Litchfield on your Michigan roadtrip.
Okay – now look!