Michigan State University

Ionia, Ionia County, Michigan Terr'y

Published by Pendletons Lithography in Boston in 1835, probably for Nathaniel Brown

This map shows a thriving town site.  The only problem was that it was a complete fiction.  The real Ionia Center, Michigan, the seat of Ionia County, already existed two miles to the west of this site.

The map carefully details the true physical features of section 21 of current day Ionia Township, however the town lots, the mill race and the mill pond only existed in the mind of the owner.   Numerous lots have been color coded to some unknown system.

At the time the map was made in 1835, half of the square-mile section had been purchased by Chicago-based land speculator Nathaniel Brown.  The other half was still owned by the U.S. government.  Brown had the idea of a sawmill anchoring a community that in time could steal the County Seat from nearby Ionia Center (later renamed City of Ionia).  Although some lots were sold, the venture came to nothing.

About forty years later a small community called Prairie Creek was platted on the north-west corner of the site which today is surrounded by an enlarged City of Ionia.  This map was a gift from Ronald Dietz.

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