This is the smallest of the small towns in West Michigan that I’ve photographed so far. The village of Clarksville is southeast of Lowell and has a population of less than 400.

In the village center, there’s a couple of bars/restaurants, a gas station, a mechanic, an autobody shop, a post office, a relator, and a grain elevator, among other businesses. In August there is an Annual Clarksville Steam and Gas Engine Tractor Show. There was a small farmers’ market going when I was there on Saturday morning.

As the cover image for the blog post shows, the local grain elevator caught might eye. Here are two views, one showing off the railroad tracks that run through the south end of the village. Like many small towns in the Midwest, this one owes its origins and current status to the services it provides for local farmers.

The village dates to the 1840s, when a few white settlers arrived, but the oldest buildings in Clarksville seem to date to the 1890s. More settlers had arrived in the 1870s and 1880s, after roads had been surveyed. The village was named after Clark L. Howard, who opened a store and a post office. The village soon had a couple of churches, a grange hall, a schoolhouse, and several other businesses.

One of the historic buildings houses a pizza place.

Another cool old is an autobody shop. (Across the street is an auto repair and tire place. Beside it is a building been renovated; one of the businesses that will go into it is a relator.

I chatted with a couple of local folks coming out of one of the restaurants. They said that Lake Odessa, just down the road, is a nice little town. So that’s where I’m going next.

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