Timeline of the 1900's

City Charter

In 1905 the present city charter became law. It has been revised, added to, etc. by charter amendments many times since that date, but the charter of 1905 is still the basis for the government of Coldwater.

Park & Recreation Board

By 1912 Coldwater, a growing city, felt the need of parks and recreational facilities. A park and recreation board was established which today has given Coldwater the splendid parks, which are enjoyed so thoroughly.

Growth of Coldwater

And so through the years Coldwater has grown - steadily at times - by spurts at other times. Slowly, but ever forward toward making it a better place to "live, worship and play." Many men and women have made their contributions-some large, some small, but each his bit-and thus Coldwater today.


In 1960, Coldwater's Centennial Committee held its initial meeting to start plans for a municipal observance of the historical anniversary in 1961. General Chairman, C.J. Medendorp, presided with 20 members present. July 4, Independence Day was observed in an all day celebration at the 4-H Fairgrounds including fireworks at night, the first since 1933.

Municipal Power Plant

Mrs. Edna Wells, owner of the 75-year-old SB. Kitchel Liniment business sold out to James A. Warnhoff and Dr. J.W. Brown of St. Louis, Missouri. Coldwater voters favored expansion of the municipal power plant in preference to purchase 100% power needs from Consumers Power Company. Climax Molybdenum announced a major expansion for Coldwater's first shell building in the Industrial Park. On November 8, new city charter proposal wins by 183 ballots to become effective January 1, 1961.

City Officials / Centennial Day

In 1961, Godfrey Collins took up his duties under the city charter as City Manager. The Mayor was Arthur Lyons. Restoration of Tibbits Theatre was started, and the Old Opera House will again be active. In February, Harold J. Smith was appointed to become Coldwater's first Municipal Judge effective in July. On February 20 the first non-partisan primary election was held. Governor Swainson, declared Tuesday, February 28 as Coldwater Centennial Day in honor of the 100th anniversary of Coldwater as an incorporated city. Presentation made to State Senator John P. Smeekens and State Representative Frederic I. Marshall at Lansing.

Industrial Development District / Downtown Development Authority

In 1983, The Coldwater City Council made the entire Industrial Park an Industrial Development District to attract industry to Coldwater allowing companies a tax abatement.

A Downtown Development Authority was established to revitalize the downtown. Panel Processing had a $400,000 expansion in process. Many changes took place in the downtown area. The American Legion was remodeled, Benedict's opened the Meeting Place at the corner of Hanchett and West Chicago; Penney's moved next to Parkside Pharmacy in the Kerr Building; T-Shirt Alley moved from E Chicago St. to W Chicago; Michigan Bank Mid-South moved into the downtown; World Wide Communications and N and M Leather were new to the community.

Kiwanis Club Contributions

A sled slide was added to the Heritage Park with the help of the Kiwanis Club. The Optimist Club added playground equipment to Heritage Park and another practice ball field was constructed as well as a tennis practice wall by the Tennis Club.


In 1965, Coldwater listed 195 retail establishments, 40 manufacturers, and 81 wholesalers. There were 9,461 residents and 3,848 housing units within the City limits. Foreign investment within the city was represented by companies from Germany, Italy and Japan.

Correctional Facilities

The Florence Crane Women's Correctional Facility was established at the Coldwater Regional Center with a men's correctional facility to be completed in the next year. The mental health role of the Regional Center was redefined to include a larger resident population. The influx of activities at the Regional Center added approximately 8 million dollars in area payroll.

Increased Tourism

To support the area's increased tourist activities, a Quality Inn and Convention Center was completed offering a much-needed addition to the community.

Rail Users Association

A Rail Users Association was formed and in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, purchased the existing Conrail rail line from Quincy to Sturgis. HCRC is the "short line carrier" that operates trains of the track connecting with Conrail to the west and N&W to the east.

New Industries / Businesses

New industries in the area included:
  • Gross-Stabil
  • Data Tech
  • Specialty Pyronics
  • Federal Cold Forge
  • Grahl International
  • Sintered Metal Products
  • Trail Master Products
New commercial businesses in the area included:
  • Burger King
  • Wendy's
  • The Chicken Coop
  • The Gallery
  • Jim's Shoes
  • Curtis Mathes
  • Crystal Health Fitness Center
  • Fradors Pizza
  • Parshall's Retail Wholesale
  • The Sound Room
  • Coldwater True Value
  • Charlie's II

Industrial Park

In 1987, Coldwater added 41 acres to the Industrial Park to allow more industrial access to rail transportation. Plans were being made to open a Business Park close to 1-69. Additional water treatment facilities were constructed to ensure continued pure water in the area.

Phoenix Concepts

The century old Shaw Shoe Co. building was renovated and a new company, Phoenix Concepts, occupied the facility. Johnson Controls, an automotive seating manufacturer, established a new plant in the Industrial Park. A new wholesale warehouse, Markets Unlimited, began operations in the former Gambles building.

Retail Development

Retail development continued both in the City and surrounding area. Major opportunities continued to exist in new commercial building programs. A Mainstreet Director was hired to implement a coordinated downtown expansion program featuring facade improvements and low cost, energy saving construction and renovation. A Visitors Information Center was opened in a newly renovated building.

New Prison

A second prison facility opened for men. The new prison, Lakeland Men's facility is located next to the women's facility on the Coldwater State Regional Facility grounds.


Compiled by Charles N. Hill, Coldwater Chamber of Commerce, from materials of Brown-Facklam; Conover; Luedders Directory; "Mich. in 4 Centuries", Blad; etc.