My Town Monday: From Farm to Suburb

Once upon a time, much of South East Lower Michigan was trees. Shortly after that, it was farm fields and small towns. This image shoes the little town of Hamburg. Today, Hamburg itself is still a little town. But it is surrounded by suburbia (or at least a version of suburbia.) Strip malls and subdivisions have replaced nearly all the farm fields in this little area.

This aerial view is from about the 1930s. The number 3 marks the historic church in down town Hamburg. (Still there.) The main street of Hamburg runs along in front of that street (connects #2 and 3). Follow it northerly (to the left side of the photo) through the line of trees and around the corner. The road goes off into farm fields.

By contrast, this image was poached from Google Maps. All developed—well, except the little town of Hamburg. The pink dot is downtown Hamburg.

Interestingly enough, Hamburg was platted to be a much larger town.

But it never really grew, despite having two rail road lines and two train depots. It just never became more than a little farm town.

The Mill Pond (and the Mill) are gone from Hamburg. All that’s left are two streets, and a few houses. Even the little grocery store left (though a new one may be/ have gone in.) Hard for a local little store to compete with one of those big chain stores.

It’s interesting to track the changes over time. Sometimes I wonder what Hamburg was like, once upon a time, before it was just a bedroom community tucked away off the main road.