The first known use of the word "Yooper" to refer to someone from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was in the 1970s. The term has since become a popular nickname for residents of the UP.
Van Buren County, located in the southwestern part of Michigan, has a rich history that dates back to thousands of years ago. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Potawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa. These tribes relied on the abundant natural resources in the region, such as fish, game, and fertile land for farming.

In the early 19th century, European settlers began to arrive in the area. The first permanent settlement was established in 1829 in what is now the city of Paw Paw. The county was officially organized in 1837 and named after the eighth President of the United States, Martin Van Buren.

Agriculture played a significant role in the early development of Van Buren County. The fertile soil and favorable climate supported the growth of crops like wheat, corn, and orchards. By the mid-19th century, the county became known for its fruit production, particularly apples and grapes. Railroads were constructed, connecting Van Buren County to larger markets, which further fueled its agricultural growth.

In addition to agriculture, Van Buren County experienced industrial expansion during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The county boasted various industries, including sawmills, canning factories, and manufacturing facilities. This diversification helped the county's economy thrive and attracted new residents.

Today, Van Buren County continues to be a vibrant community with a mix of agricultural and industrial sectors. Its stunning natural beauty, including Lake Michigan shoreline, expansive forests, and picturesque countryside, also attracts visitors and tourists. The county upholds its rich history while embracing modern advancements, making it a unique and dynamic part of Michigan.

This timeline provides a condensed summary of the historical journey of Van Buren County, Michigan.

  • 1837 - Van Buren County is established as one of the original counties in Michigan.
  • 1839 - The county seat is established in Paw Paw.
  • 1847 - The Michigan Central Railroad is completed, leading to increased economic growth in the county.
  • 1861-1865 - Van Buren County contributes soldiers to the Union during the American Civil War.
  • 1870 - Van Buren County's population reaches over 23,000 residents.
  • 1881 - The Van Buren County Courthouse is built in Paw Paw.
  • 1890 - Van Buren County's population peaks at over 33,000 residents.
  • 1924 - The Mackinac Bridge, a major transportation landmark in Michigan, is opened.
  • 1963 - The Van Buren County Historical Society is founded.
  • 1980 - The Van Buren County Museum is established in Hartford.