In Season Every Season. New Buffalo.

New Buffalo Area History

Pre-European
People of the Algonquin, Iroquois, Fox, Sioux, Miami and Potawatomi nations inhabit the land in the area that is now New Buffalo
1675
“The River of the Miamis” — Berrien County’s St. Joseph River — is first navigated by Father Jacques Marquette. This opens the area to other European explorers, including Rene Robert Cavalier, Sieur de la Salle
1679
Fort Miami is established at what is now St. Joseph as a mission and to facilitate trade
c. 1700s
The number of European settlers in the area grows. Many people of the Indian nations are driven westward by war and treaties
1825
Pokagon, second-ranking Potawatomi chief, receives permission to stay in Michigan and establishes a village in Bertrand Township
1834
Captain Wessel D. Whittaker’s ship Post Boy runs aground near present-day Grand Beach and is destroyed. On his way north to St. Joseph to report the loss, he first views the place where the Galien River empties into Lake Michigan, and envisions a harbor to rival his home port of Buffalo, New York. He promptly goes to Kalamazoo to buy land at this spot
1835
After enticing his employers to invest $13,000, Whittaker returns to the area to develop a base of operations. The group names the area “New Buffalo”
1836
The village of New Buffalo is incorporated
1849
Although the harbor is never developed, New Buffalo experiences a huge commercial growth spurt as it becomes the end of the line for Michigan Central railroad
1853
Tracks are extended to Chicago. Declining tourism causes village population to decline. However, because infrastructure has been put in place, new settlers arrive
1856
First New Buffalo newspaper, The Vindicator, published by J.M. Patton
1858-1862
Catholic, Methodist, German Evangelical and Baptist churches are built
1870
Berrien County Medical Association formed at New Buffalo
1880
Township population reaches nearly 1200
c. 1893
Isaac O. Smith builds a resort hotel on his farmland for travelers on their way to Chicago’s Colombian Exposition and a new tourism boom begins
c. early 1900s
The New Buffalo area becomes a summer-camp Mecca as Potawatomi Point, Camp Sokol, Forest Beach, Tell Hai, and others open
1911-1921
The Grand Beach area grows into a popular resort area, featuring the Golfmore Hotel, golf, dining, dancing, swimming, and more
1921
Pere Marquette railroad line puts in new tracks and other improvements and becomes a significant employer in the area. Other industries include a pickle factory and farming. The major growth industry is tourism, with visitors from the Chicago area arriving by train and car
1934
Tourist information center built
1935
A Michigan State Police post is established at New Buffalo
1947
The first marina facilities open
1965
New Buffalo becomes a Home Rule city

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