The Rise and Fall of Puddleburg Michigan
If you live in St. Joseph County chances are you have passed through the community once known as Puddleburg.
The community once known as Puddleburg was once a portion of the Nottawasaga Potawatomi Reservation of Nottawa Prairie. Its history can be found in only a few places. Some from the area recall learning the tale in school while others have never heard of Puddleburg, Michigan.
Puddleburg's first settler was a Frenchman coming to run a Trading Post in 1831. The first farm would not come until a year later and grew corn, wheat, potatoes, hay, wool, pork, butter, apples, and barrels of cider, according to laketemplene.org.
Public land became available after the native Nottawa tribe and Potowatomi sold their reservation to the government In 1833. The first frame house was built in 1835. The first manufacturers were blacksmithing, lime-burning, wagon-making and shoemaking, sawmill, iron mill, planing mill, stave machinery, a flouring mill, and a foundry.
Roman Catholic missionaries held the first religious services in 1831. The first schoolhouse came in the fall of 1837. The area was incorporated as Wakeman Township in 1843, and due to dissatisfaction with the name became known as "Puddleburg." How Puddleburg became preferred to Wakeman for now, is a mystery.
It did not take long for early residents to decided the name “Puddleburg” was not the sound of a dignified community. According to the St. Joseph County Historical Society of Michigan, Mr. Benjamin Peter House from Mendon, New York, and Mr. Moses Taft from Mendon, Massachusetts started a successful movement to change the name.
The reason for the name change was not simply one of taste. The community had been in the running as one of the potential future sites for the University Of Notre Dame, according to the Colon Museum. Some residents thought a change of name might make the site a more desirable location for the future university. In 1844, Puddleburg's name was officially changed to Mendon. The University of Notre Dame, of course, was founded in South Bend, Indiana. But at one time, Puddleburg Michigan was once considered as the future home of the famed university. Today you can find many communities across the United States called Mendon. You will however not find one community called Puddleburg.
This beautiful historic covered bridge is located a short five-minute drive from Puddleburg...I mean Mendon, Michigan.
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