Berrien County is located at the southwest corner of Michigan along the shores of Lake Michigan and shares a state border with Indiana. Read on for history and links!
Berrien County History
The area that is now Berrien County was first inhabited by Paleo-Indians whose settlements can still be found along high ridges. After the Paleo-Indians came the Potawatomi and the Miami who inhabited the area until they were pushed out by white settlers.
Jacques Marquette was the first European to visit the region but according to The History of Berrien County from the Southwest Michigan Directory, it was French explorer Rene’ Robert Cavelier Sieur de la Salle who built Fort Miami in 1679 at the present site of St. Joseph (at the mouth of the St. Joseph River). The fort became the base for explorations into the Mississippi River Valley. The French built Fort St. Joseph upriver at Niles and controlled the area until 1763 when the British moved in. In 1781 the Spanish briefly took over Ft. St. Joseph, allowing Niles to be the only Michigan town to claim four flags – France, England, Spain, and the U.S.A.
The county was named after US. Attorney General John M. Berrien, who served under President Andrew Jackson. The county seat of Berrien is St. Joseph, which is also the largest shoreline city.
Blurs any ties to the beginning by sgsteffens_83
(Vineyard in Berrien Springs MI)
Berrien County Today
Berrien County boasts 50 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline county and is among the leading producers of peaches, pears, apples, plums and cherries in Michigan. Berrien is also home to several wineries on the Southwest Michigan Wine Trail.
More County/City Information
- Berrien County links from Absolute Michigan – a bunch of them!
- Berrien County Government – information about the local government and community.
- History of Berrien and Van Buren counties, Michigan. With … biographical sketches of its prominent men and pioneers – ebook from Michigan County Histories at UM Library
- Berrien County, Michigan photo map – from Flickr
- Wikipedia entry for Berrien County
- City of St. Joseph
- St. Joseph Today
Things to do
- Grand Mere State Park – Michigan Shoreline Tour: Grand Mere State Park on Michigan in Pictures
- Warren Dunes State Park – also see Michigan Shoreline Tour: Warren Dunes on Michigan in Pictures
- Berrien County Parks – beaches and more!
- Southwest Michigan Wine Trail – 10,000+ acres of grapes and a number of wineries
- Events including the Blossomtime Festival (late May, multi-community), Venetian Festival (mid-July, St. Joseph), Antiques on the Bluff (first Sunday every month May – Oct, St. Joseph) and the Berrien County Youth Fair (Late August, Berrien Springs)
Obviously, we’ve only scratched the surface of what Berrien County has to offer. If you know of a Berrien County shop, beach, trail, event or web site that folks should know about, add a link or a note in the comments below!