The term "North Berrien" refers to the northern section of Berrien County, Michigan. This includes Hagar, Coloma, Watervliet, and Bainbridge townships, the cities of Coloma and Watervliet, and the towns of Millburg, Riverside, and Lake Michigan Beach. Paw Paw Lake, southwest Michigan's largest inland lake is also located in North Berrien.
What We've Achieved-
50 years of preserving local history
In 1966 a group of citizens from the North Berrien area created the North Berrien Historical Society. The society met twice a month at the Coloma Methodist Church and dedicated its efforts to collecting artifacts and stories of the area's heritage. Leading the effort to collect artifacts was Roger Carter, who was still living at the homestead that his ancestors had lived in since 1865. It was in his historic house and barn that the Society began storing the artifacts it was collecting to augment the collection that Roger had been gathering for years.
At the same time, another founding member, Bill Beverly Jr. led the effort to collect stories from old timers who still remembered the pioneering days. The stories were first memorized by members, then Bill began to write them down clarifying the facts while people were still alive. Eventually all of this was recorded on a video with Bill telling the stories he had uncovered. Bill also contributed his collection of photos and postcards to the group's rapidly growing storehouse of artifacts.
The Society has grown from its modest beginnings now owning and operating a five building, four-acre campus.
Its permanent collection has grown to:
3,500 Object Records,
5,000 Photographic Records,
1,200 Archival Records,
800 Library Records
The North Berrien Historical Society consists of 230 members and serves approximately 5,000 individuals annually through regular visitation, special events/programming, and school groups.
While there have been many changes with North Berrien Historical Society over the past fifty years, the mission and purpose remains:
"...to preserve and distribute information regarding the history of North Berrien County...to promote research, encourage learning and disseminate knowledge of the area's cultural and architectural legacy."
501(c)3 Nonprofit Organization