In 1854, Ananias J. Peugh settled the land where Conklin would develop. Years later, Oscar F. Conklin bought Mr. Peugh’s land, and established a general store to serve the needs of the many farmers in the area. When the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad decided to establish a line to Muskegon in 1886, O.F. Conklin convinced them that the best route would run through his property in Chester Township, and that a depot should be built on the land he sold them. The depot was originally called West Chester Station, but GR&I soon changed the name to Conklin Station.
In 1887, when a post office was established, Mr. Conklin traveled to Washington to request that the office be named Conklin. His request was granted, and the community, originally West Chester, soon took the name Conklin as well. Henry A. Miller was the first postmaster. A school was soon built, and a Congregational Church (now Conklin Reformed Church) was established in 1896. Many businesses sprang up in town, and their owners organized a fire department in 1912.
Phone service arrived in 1905, with between three and nine households sharing one party line until conversion to dial telephones began in 1958. Electricity reached the village in 1920. The rail line was abandoned, and in 1975 was purchased by the Michigan Department of Transportation. The railroad right-of-way is now the Musketawa Trail.
Conklin Main St., Looking South-West
Conklin Main St., Looking North
Conklin School c. 1900
Conklin Main St. 1918
Congregational Church of Conklin
Armistice Day Parade, Conklin, 11-11-1918
Stage Curtain at the Grange Hall
August 1911 Conklin Field Day Ad