Hillsdale, Michigan

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Hillsdale, Michigan
Hillsdale County Courthouse
Hillsdale County Courthouse
Location of Hillsdale, Michigan
Location of Hillsdale, Michigan
Coordinates: 41°55′10″N 84°38′00″W / 41.91944°N 84.63333°W / 41.91944; -84.63333Coordinates: 41°55′10″N 84°38′00″W / 41.91944°N 84.63333°W / 41.91944; -84.63333
Country United States
State Michigan
County Hillsdale
 • Type Council-manager government
 • Total 6.19 sq mi (16.03 km2)
 • Land 5.92 sq mi (15.33 km2)
 • Water 0.27 sq mi (0.70 km2)
Elevation 1,119 ft (341 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,305
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 8,167
 • Density 1,300/sq mi (520/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code 49242
Area code(s) 517
FIPS code 26-38460[4]
GNIS feature ID 0628321[5]
Website http://www.cityofhillsdale.org

Hillsdale is a city in the state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,305. It is the county seat of Hillsdale County,[6] which is located in the center of the southern border of the state. The city is situated mostly within Hillsdale Township, but is a municipality governed independently of the township.

The city is the home of Hillsdale College, a private liberal arts college noted for its academics and its influence in politics and education.


This area is located in the rolling, fertile hills of South Central Michigan, bordering Indiana and Ohio, according to the boundaries set up under United States settlement.[7] It was long occupied by the Potowatomi, an Algonquian-speaking people who were part of a long-term alliance, called the Council of Three Fires, with the Ojibwe and Odawa (Ottawa). A Potowatomi band of about 150 people, led by the chief known as Baw Beese, had a base camp near the large lake in the area.

The first European-American settler, Jeremiah Arnold, arrived in 1834 and encountered the band. They helped the early settlers. Arnold erected a cabin and moved in with his wife Percy (Round) Arnold. With the arrival of other settlers, the pioneers erected the first schoolhouse in 1838. The City was established in 1839. In 1840 the US forced out Baw Beese and his people, as well as other Potowatomi in neighboring and more distant areas of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, making them remove to Indian Territory in present-day Kansas.

Founded in 1844 as Central Michigan College in Spring Arbor, Hillsdale College relocated to this city in 1853 and changed its name. It was the first American college to prohibit in its charter discrimination based on race, religion or sex, and became an early force for the abolition of slavery. It was the second college in the nation to grant four-year liberal arts degrees to women.[8]

The city was chartered in 1869. In 1885 Hillsdale dedicated its first high school building, on what is now West Street. (It is now used as the middle school.) In the late 1800s, Hillsdale became a booming railroad town, served by both freight and passenger trains.

The railroad was used by tourists to enjoy cottages and other facilities on Baw Beese Lake, named after the Potowatomi chief. About 20 minutes from downtown, the area was developed as a lake resort by the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad. People could avoid dusty travel on unpaved roads by taking the train. At the turn of the 20th century, it began to attract tourists from a wider range of cities, such as Chicago, Toledo, Elkhart and others at what had been known as Archer’s Landing. People swam in the lake and could rent two types of canoes.[9]

After World War II, the construction of interstate highways encouraged use of automobiles, and passenger traffic declined on many lines. Railroads had to restructure and the last passenger train left Hillsdale in 1956. Dozens of fine Victorian homes had been built during the prosperity of the 19th century, many of which are still occupied as private residences, contributing to the city's historic fabric.

The 20th century brought additional improvements. In 1908 the city opened its first public library. In 1921 it opened its first hospital and in 1934 Hillsdale Municipal Airport opened.[10]

Neighboring communities[edit]

Nearby communities include: Allen, Bankers, Cambria, Camden, Frontier, Jerome, Jonesville, Litchfield, Montgomery, Moscow, Mosherville, North Adams, Osseo, Pittsford, Prattville, Ransom, Reading, and Waldron.

Geography and climate[edit]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.19 square miles (16.03 km2), of which, 5.92 square miles (15.33 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.70 km2) is water.[1]

The St. Joseph River begins in Hillsdale, near Lake Baw Beese. Several parks and a beach are located around this major body of water in the city.

This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Hillsdale has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[11]

Climate data for Hillsdale, MI 41°55′12″N 84°37′50″W / 41.92000°N 84.63056°W / 41.92000; -84.63056, 1981–2010 normals
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30.0
Average low °F (°C) 15.0
Average rainfall inches (mm) 2.36
Source: "U.S. Climate Data"[12]



Hillsdale has one major roadway passing through it, Michigan highway 99 ( M-99). It passes through both the historic downtown as well as the newer business strip. Highway 99 connects to Highway 12 just over a mile north of Hillsdale.


Hillsdale Municipal Airport (KJYM) established in 1934, has a 5000' paved lighted runway with instrument approaches, hangars, tie-downs, and fuel services available.


Indiana Northeastern Railroad serves Hilsdale.


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20168,167[3]−1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[13]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,305 people, 2,970 households, and 1,686 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,402.9 inhabitants per square mile (541.7/km2). There were 3,383 housing units at an average density of 571.5 per square mile (220.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.8% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 2,970 households of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.7% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.2% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age in the city was 30.2 years. 22.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 21.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.9% were from 25 to 44; 20.5% were from 45 to 64; and 13.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.0% male and 53.0% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 8,233 people, 3,067 households, and 1,781 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,548.2 per square mile (597.5/km²). There were 3,274 housing units at an average density of 615.7 per square mile (237.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.5% White, 0.6% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.8% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.5% of the population.

There were 3,067 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.5% were married couples living together, 12.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 34.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 21.3% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 17.4% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $34,695, and the median income for a family was $42,649. Males had a median income of $32,573 versus $22,707 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,062. About 5.5% of families and 10.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.1% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest[edit]


There are no television stations broadcasting from within the county; Hillsdale County gets its television signals from the Lansing-Jackson, Toledo-Port Clinton-Lake Erie Islands, Kalamazoo-Battle Creek-Grand Rapids, and Detroit-Windsor SMSAs.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  7. ^ "The City of Hillsdale, Michigan". cityofhillsdale.org.
  8. ^ "About/History – Hillsdale College". Hillsdale College.
  9. ^ "Baw Beese Lake", Hillsdale Historical Society
  10. ^ City of Hillsdale history
  11. ^ "Hillsdale, Michigan Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase.
  12. ^ "Climate Hillsdale – Michigan". usclimatedata.com. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
  13. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.

External links[edit]