A Brief History of Cedar Springs The Michigan Legislature incorporated Cedar Springs as a village in March of 1871. At the time it was a major hub for the timber history. As a result of the logging activity a unique enterprise began in Cedar Springs. Red Flannel Garments were sold here, but were not made here until 1952 when Mrs. Mae Oppenneer started making them in her home later sold the business to Mrs. Sally Wall. Mrs. Wall established the Red Flannel Factory that was in operation for about forty years. That business continued beyond the lumber industry era, and still exists today as a viable part of the community.
Cedar Springs in 1885 – looking north on Main Street.
The Cedar Springs Historical Museum is located in Morley Park just off south Main Street.
Visiting the museum allows you to step back into time as you tour the one-room Payne School that was moved to the park in 1971. The school has been renovated to reflect the century long era in public education when one teacher, lodging with a school family, taught all eight grades. Land for these schools was reserved as townships were established throughout Michigan in its early days as a State. As townships grew, more schools were established so that pupils would not have to walk more than two or three miles to school.
In the museum itself, you step into the history of Cedar Springs and its surrounding area. Established as a lumber town in 1856, Michigan boasted numerous lumber and shingle mills. For a number of years, it was the northern terminus of the Grand Rapids and Indiana (Pennsylvania) Railroad and also was the crossing point for east-west Toledo, Saginaw, and Muskegon (Grand Trunk) Railroad. The museum’s displays reflect this lumbering and farming heritage. In the yard, you will find a stump puller that was used to clear the stumps so that the land could be farmed.