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Berrien County, Michigan
St Joseph North Pier Lights.jpg
Lighthouse at St. Joseph
Seal of Berrien County, Michigan
Seal
Map of Michigan highlighting Berrien County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded October 29, 1829 (created)
1831 (organized)[1]
Named for John M. Berrien
Seat St. Joseph
Largest city Niles
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,581 sq mi (4,095 km²)
568 sq mi (1,471 km²)
1,014 sq mi (2,626 km²), 64%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

154,316
272/sq mi (105/km²)
Congressional district 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Berrien County is a county on the south line of Michigan, at the southwestern corner of the state. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 154,316.[2] The county seat is St. Joseph.[3]

Berrien County is included in the Niles-Benton Harbor, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka, IN-MI Combined Statistical Area.

History[]

As one of the Cabinet counties, Berrien County was named for John M. Berrien of Georgia, US Attorney General (1829–1831) under US President Andrew Jackson.[1] The county was founded in 1829, and was organized in 1831, before Michigan was accepted into the Union as a state.[4]

When Michigan Territory was established in 1805, the area of present Berrien County was included in the boundary of Wayne County.

About 1780, New Jersey resident William Burnett established a trading post at the mouth of the St. Joseph River (present-day site of St. Joseph) to serve indigenous peoples and French Canadian residents. Also during that time, Joseph Bertrand established a trading post on the river, in present–day Niles Charter Township.[5] In December 1822, missionary Isaac McCoy moved his family and 18 Indian students from Indiana to the St. Joseph River near present-day Niles, Michigan, to open a religious mission (the Carey Mission) to the Potawatomi Indians, 160 km from the nearest White settlement.[6]

In 1827 St. Joseph Township was organized as part of Wayne County, It included all lands acquired from the Native Americans by the 1821 Treaty of Chicago.

The boundary of Berrien County was delineated by the Michigan Territory Legislature on October 29, 1829, with its present limits. For purposes of revenue, taxation and judicial matters, it was attached to Cass County, and was designated as Niles Township. This assignation was terminated in 1831 when Berrien County's government was organized and initiated.

Berrien County began with three townships:

  • Berrien Township – consisted of present-day townships of Berrien, Oronoko, Baroda and Lake plus a two-mile strip north of that territory
  • St. Joseph Township – consisted of the area north of Berrien Township
  • Niles Township – consisted of the area south of Berrien Township.[7]

In recent times, Berrien County, especially the coastal cities of New Buffalo and Lakeside, has received notice as a vacation destination for Chicago area residents and other Midwesterners. It has earned multiple nicknames in this capacity, including "Harbor Country" and "the Hamptons of the Midwest", with the latter recognized by the Wall Street Journal.[8][9]

Politics[]

Berrien County has favored a Republican Party candidate in all but six elections since 1884.

United States presidential election results for Berrien County, Michigan[10]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 43,519 52.71% 37,438 45.34% 1,608 1.95%
2016 38,647 53.65% 29,495 40.95% 3,889 5.40%
2012 38,209 52.51% 33,465 45.99% 1,088 1.50%
2008 36,130 46.42% 40,381 51.88% 1,323 1.70%
2004 41,076 55.01% 32,846 43.99% 749 1.00%
2000 35,689 54.70% 28,152 43.15% 1,400 2.15%
1996 28,254 47.65% 24,614 41.51% 6,427 10.84%
1992 29,252 42.02% 25,840 37.12% 14,523 20.86%
1988 37,799 62.81% 21,948 36.47% 436 0.72%
1984 43,160 66.58% 21,228 32.75% 436 0.67%
1980 41,458 60.99% 22,152 32.59% 4,368 6.43%
1976 40,835 61.13% 25,163 37.67% 800 1.20%
1972 43,047 68.26% 18,597 29.49% 1,416 2.25%
1968 32,136 51.08% 21,266 33.80% 9,514 15.12%
1964 26,387 43.86% 33,653 55.94% 122 0.20%
1960 37,425 60.85% 23,837 38.76% 244 0.40%
1956 35,397 65.50% 18,454 34.15% 194 0.36%
1952 32,932 62.94% 19,088 36.48% 300 0.57%
1948 22,003 58.89% 14,516 38.85% 842 2.25%
1944 24,832 60.66% 15,886 38.81% 216 0.53%
1940 22,778 57.02% 16,961 42.46% 208 0.52%
1936 15,321 41.27% 20,822 56.09% 982 2.65%
1932 14,123 42.46% 18,447 55.46% 694 2.09%
1928 19,064 68.60% 8,555 30.78% 172 0.62%
1924 15,612 63.73% 4,445 18.15% 4,440 18.12%
1920 15,748 74.06% 4,855 22.83% 662 3.11%
1916 7,511 53.68% 6,054 43.27% 426 3.04%
1912 2,752 23.06% 4,225 35.40% 4,958 41.54%
1908 7,260 58.07% 4,598 36.78% 645 5.16%
1904 7,309 62.99% 3,819 32.91% 476 4.10%
1900 6,595 55.47% 4,960 41.72% 334 2.81%
1896 6,672 56.12% 4,792 40.31% 424 3.57%
1892 4,979 48.55% 4,716 45.98% 561 5.47%
1888 5,128 49.72% 4,689 45.46% 497 4.82%
1884 4,445 48.06% 4,458 48.21% 345 3.73%



Government[]

The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, records deeds, mortgages and vital records, oversees public health, and participates with the state in welfare and social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget and has limited authority to make laws and ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police, fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Elected officials[]

  • Prosecuting Attorney: Steve Pierangeli
  • Sheriff: L. Paul Bailey
  • County Clerk: Sharon Tyler
  • County Treasurer: Bret E. Witkowski
  • Register of Deeds: Lori D. Jarvis
  • Drain Commissioner: Christopher J. Quattrin[11]
  • County Surveyor: John G. Kamer

(information as of January 2021)

Geography[]

According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,581 square miles (4,090 km2), of which 568 square miles (1,470 km2) is land and 1,014 square miles (2,630 km2) (64%) is water.[12]

The county borders the state of Indiana to the South and includes a portion of Lake Michigan to the West.

The St. Joseph River is a major geographical feature, flowing mostly north and west through the county from Niles to its mouth on Lake Michigan at St. Joseph. The southwest of the county is drained by the Galien River and its tributaries. Paw Paw Lake is in the north of the county, along with the Paw Paw River, which flows into the St. Joseph River just before it enters Lake Michigan. A tiny portion along the Indiana state line is drained by small tributaries of the Kankakee River, which ultimately flows into the Mississippi River. This is one of two areas of Michigan drained by the Mississippi River, the other being an area of Michigan's Upper Peninsula near the Wisconsin border.

Major highways[]

  • I-94 – runs north along the western edge of the county near Lake Michigan. Turns inland to skirt the St. Joseph/Benton Harbor urban area. Runs east to Kalamazoo. Business Loop 94 passes through downtown Benton Harbor and St. Joseph.
  • BL I-94 – runs through St. Joseph and Benton Harbor.
  • I-196 – from its intersection with I-94 east of Benton Harbor, runs north to Holland, then east to Grand Rapids.
  • US 12 – runs east–west through the southern portion of the county from south of Niles through Three Oaks to New Buffalo and Michiana, Michigan. From Berrien County it connects with Michigan City, Indiana.
  • US 31 – running north from South Bend, Indiana, enters the southeast county as the St. Joseph Valley Parkway, near Niles, and continues north and west. A segment of the freeway was completed in August 2003, running from Berrien Springs north to Napier Avenue east of Benton Harbor. US 31 follows Napier Avenue west to I-94 before branching off with I-196. A final segment is planned to continue the freeway from Napier Avenue north to the junction with I-94 and BL I-94 with a full cloverleaf interchange. The former route of US 31 between Berrien Springs and St. Joseph was redesignated as M-139.
  • M-51 – enters from Indiana as a continuation of State Road 933. Runs north through Niles, then northeast toward Dowagiac, Michigan.
  • M-60 – runs east from Niles to I-94 at Jackson.
  • M-62 – from its intersection with M-140, runs east toward Dowagiac, Michigan.
  • M-63 – from its intersection with M-139 (formerly US 31) in Scottdale, runs northwest into St. Joseph, then northeast to intersection with US 31/I-196 near the county line.
  • M-139 – from its intersection with US 12 southwest of Niles, runs northeasterly into downtown Niles, then follows the former route of US 31 US 33 northwesterly through Berrien Springs to Scottdale, then north near St. Joseph and Benton Harbor to an intersection with Business Loop I-94.
  • M-140 – from Niles, runs north through the eastern part of the county toward South Haven, Michigan.
  • M-239 – its 1.1 miles (1.8 km) length links I-94 at Exit 1 near New Buffalo to State Road 39 north of LaPorte, Indiana.
  • A-2 – Berrien County's only signed county highway. Begins in Hagar Shores at M-63 and I-196. It follows the Lake Michigan shoreline and continues to South Haven, Michigan.

Adjacent counties[]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1830 325
1840 5,011 1,441.8%
1850 11,417 127.8%
1860 22,378 96.0%
1870 35,104 56.9%
1880 36,785 4.8%
1890 41,285 12.2%
1900 49,165 19.1%
1910 53,622 9.1%
1920 62,653 16.8%
1930 81,066 29.4%
1940 89,117 9.9%
1950 115,702 29.8%
1960 149,865 29.5%
1970 163,875 9.3%
1980 171,276 4.5%
1990 161,378 −5.8%
2000 162,453 0.7%
2010 156,813 −3.5%
US Decennial Census[13]
1790-1960[14] 1900-1990[15]
1990-2000[16] 2010-2020[2]

The 2010 United States Census[17] indicates Berrien County had a 2010 population of 156,813. This is a decrease of 5,640 people from the 2000 United States Census, or a 3.5% population decrease. In 2010 there were 63,054 households and 41,585 families in the county. The population density was 276.2 per square mile (106.6 square kilometers). There were 76,922 housing units at an average density of 135.5 per square mile (52.3 square kilometers). 78.3% of the population were White, 15.3% Black or African American, 1.6% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.8% of some other race and 2.4% of two or more races. 4.5% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 29.0% were of German, 7.4% Irish, 6.8% English and 5.5% American ancestry.[18]

There were 63,054 households, 29.6% of which had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were husband and wife families, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 34.0% were non-families, and 28.7% were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.98.

The county population contained 23.4% under age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 23.2% from 25 to 44, 28.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 94.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.6 males.

The 2010 American Community Survey 1-year estimate[19] indicates the median income for a household in the county was $40,329 and the median income for a family was $51,305. Males had a median income of $26,745 versus $16,289 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,337. About 12.1% of families and 16.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.5% of those under the age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Recreation[]

State parks[]

  • Grand Mere State Park
  • Warren Dunes State Park
  • Warren Woods State Park

County parks[]

  • Galien River County Park Preserve
  • Love Creek County Park
  • Madeline Bertrand County Park
  • Paw Paw River County Park
  • Rocky Gap County Park
  • Silver Beach County Park

Other parks[]

  • Kiwanis Park – St. Joseph
  • Riverview Park – St. Joseph

Resorts and beaches[]

  • Hagar Park – Hagar Township
  • Jean Klock Park - Benton Harbor
  • Lion's Park Beach – St. Joseph
  • New Buffalo Beach Park – New Buffalo
  • Paw Paw Lake
  • Rocky Gap Beach Park - Benton Harbor
  • Silver Beach - St. Joseph
  • Tiscornia Park
  • Weko Beach - Bridgman

Golf courses[]

  • The Golf Club at Harbor Shores - Benton Harbor
  • Blossom Trails Golf Club – Benton Harbor
  • Brookwood Golf Course - Buchanan
  • Lake Michigan Hills Golf Club - Benton Harbor
  • Lost Dunes Golf Club - Bridgman
  • Milan Creek Golf Club - Baroda
  • Orchard Hills Country Club - Buchanan
  • Paw Paw Lake Golf Club - Coloma/Watervliet
  • Pebblewood Country Club - Bridgman
  • Pipestone Creek Golf Course - Eau Claire
  • Point O'Woods Golf & Country Club - Benton Harbor

Wineries[]

  • 12 Corners Vineyards - Benton Harbor
  • Baroda Founders Wine Cellar - Baroda
  • Contessa Wine Cellars - Coloma
  • Dablon Winery and Vineyard - Baroda
  • Domaine Berrien Cellars – Berrien Springs
  • Free Run Cellars - Berrien Springs
  • Gravity - Baroda
  • Hickory Creek Winery - Buchanan
  • Karma Vista Vineyards - Coloma
  • Lazy Ballerina Winery - St. Joseph
  • Lemon Creek Winery – Berrien Springs
  • Round Barn Winery, Distillery & Brewery - Baroda
  • Tabor Hill Winery and Restaurant - Buchanan
  • White Pine Winery - St. Joseph
  • Vineyard 2121 - Benton Harbor
  • Red Top Winery - Baroda

Communities[]

U.S. Census data map showing local municipal boundaries within Berrien County. Shaded areas represent incorporated cities.

Cities[]

  • Benton Harbor
  • Bridgman
  • Buchanan
  • Coloma
  • New Buffalo
  • Niles
  • St. Joseph (county seat)
  • Watervliet

Villages[]

  • Baroda
  • Berrien Springs
  • Eau Claire
  • Galien
  • Grand Beach
  • Michiana
  • Shoreham
  • Stevensville
  • Three Oaks

Charter townships[]

  • Benton Charter Township
  • Coloma Charter Township
  • Lake Charter Township
  • Lincoln Charter Township
  • Niles Charter Township
  • Oronoko Charter Township
  • St. Joseph Charter Township
  • Watervliet Charter Township

Civil townships[]

  • Bainbridge Township
  • Baroda Township
  • Berrien Township
  • Bertrand Township
  • Buchanan Township
  • Chikaming Township
  • Galien Township
  • Hagar Township
  • New Buffalo Township
  • Pipestone Township
  • Royalton Township
  • Sodus Township
  • Three Oaks Township
  • Weesaw Township

Census-designated places[]

  • Benton Heights
  • Fair Plain
  • Lake Michigan Beach
  • New Troy
  • Paw Paw Lake
  • Shorewood-Tower Hills-Harbert

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Berrien Center
  • Bethany Beach
  • Birchwood
  • Dayton
  • Glendora
  • Harbert
  • Hazelhurst
  • Hinchman
  • Lakeside
  • Millburg
  • Riverside
  • Sawyer
  • Scottdale
  • Shorewood Hills
  • Tower Hill Shorelands
  • Union Pier

Indian reservation[]

The Pokagon reservation with underlying local municipal boundaries

  • The Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians has a reservation occupying a portion of the southeastern corner of Berrien County. The tribe also occupies areas in Allegan, Cass, and Van Buren counties, as well as extending south into the state of Indiana. The reservation headquarters are located in neighboring Cass County in the city of Dowagiac.[20] The Berrien County reservation surrounds the entire portion of the city of Niles that lies within the county, as well as portions of Bertrand Township and Niles Charter Township along the St. Joseph River.[21]

See also[]

  • List of Michigan State Historic Sites in Berrien County, Michigan
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Berrien County, Michigan

References[]

  1. ^ a b "Bibliography on Berrien County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. http://clarke.cmich.edu/resource_tab/bibliographies_of_clarke_library_material/michigan_local_history/county_material/berrien.html. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/berriencountymichigan/POP010220. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  4. ^ "The History of Berrien County, Michigan". Southwest Michigan Business & Tourism Directory. http://www.swmidirectory.org/History_of_Berrien_County.html. 
  5. ^ Coolidge, Orville W. (1906). A Twentieth Century History of Berrien County Michigan, pp. 19-20. The Lewis Publishing Company.
  6. ^ ”Rev. Isaac McCoy” "Archived copy". http://baptisthistoryhomepage.com/mccoy.isaac.1st.indn.miss.html. , accessed February 19, 2011
  7. ^ Coolidge (1906), p. 24.
  8. ^ De Zutter, Hank; Little De Zutter, Pamela (6 October 1988). "Invasion of the FIPs: boom time in southwestern Michigan" (in en). https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/invasion-of-the-fips-boom-time-in-southwestern-michigan/Content?oid=872836. 
  9. ^ Jones, Al (6 April 2013). "Report: The Wall Street Journal calls the Southwest Michigan shoreline the Hamptons of the Midwest" (in en). https://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/2013/04/wall_street_journal_report_cal.html. 
  10. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of US Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 
  11. ^ "Archived copy". http://www.berriencounty.org/DrainCommissioner. 
  12. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/docs/gazetteer/counties_list_26.txt. 
  13. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  14. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  15. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/mi190090.txt. 
  16. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  17. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  18. ^ Bureau, US Census. "U.S. Census website". https://www.census.gov. 
  19. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  20. ^ Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians (2019). "Pokégnek Bodéwadmik (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi)". http://www.pokagon.com/. 
  21. ^ United States Census Bureau (2000). "Michigan County Subdivision Outline Map". https://www2.census.gov/geo/maps/general_ref/cousub_outline/cen2k_pgsz/mi_cosub.pdf. 

External links[]

Template:Berrien County, Michigan

Coordinates: 41°56′N 86°35′W / 41.94, -86.59

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Berrien County, Michigan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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