Pine Grove Township (Van Buren, MI)

image that says "Pine Grove Township Michigan" and an image of two black pine trees and clouds


Pine Grove Township is located in the extreme northeast corner of Van Buren County, Michigan. Pine Grove Township is very near to the cities of Gobles, Kalamazoo, and PawPaw. The township includes several lakes, unique farmland, and wooded areas. One focal point of the township is Kendall, a former town, which now exists as a zip code area and includes some limited commercial development surrounded by residential land uses.

Originally, Pine Grove Township was part of a Township, which was composed of what is now called Bloomingdale, Waverly, Almena and Pine Grove Townships. Pine Grove does not measure the normal six miles across because the split of Clinch resulted in the loss along the western section tiers. The northern boundary of the township divides Allegan and Van Buren Counties along Base Line Road. Although the road is broken up, usually by natural disturbances such as rivers, deep gullies, and lakes, Base Line Road extends across the state to the Detroit River. In Detroit, Base Line Road is known as Eight Mile Road. This line originally divided the southern two tiers of Michigan counties from the rest of the state. Young, Lt. Robert E. Lee was given the responsibility to survey the southern portions of Michigan in the early part of the 19th century.

Clinch Township was known as the north woods in towns along the Paw Paw River area because of its large stands of pine trees. Because timber was so readily available, early industry included a chair factory in Kendall and a cedar shake producer in Pine Grove Mills. The eastern half of Gobles was also part of the township, with most of the commerce being done there. During a depression 1835, when no actual money was available for use, employees at the cedar shake company were paid wages is the form of cedar shakes, and the Gobles merchants accepted cedar shakes as cash.

During the early years, a large area of mucky swampland separated Pine Grove Township from Kalamazoo. Having no navigable rivers, Pine Grove relied on roads that spurred from M-40, which lead from Allegan to Paw Paw. After the swamp was drained so that farming could commence, the muck land became the Menthe Plantation, and remained in business until the late 1960s when a fungus attacked the famous mint and the plantation changed over to the production of other ground crops. After the drainage was complete, it also allowed for a railroad to be built connecting Kalamazoo with South Haven. Local stations were established at the Menthe Plantation, Kendall, Pine Grove Mills, and Gobles. All four stations provided a nucleus for housing and each area received its own U.S. Post Office. Kendall and the City of Gobles are the only parts of the township that still have their own zip codes.