We Beavers are Hoosiers and serve several Indiana communities. But we also have a lot of affection for our Michigan neighbors, and we cross the border to serve them for all their dumpster rental needs. So today, we’re focusing on one of the Michigan cities that Beaver Bins services for this month’s community spotlight.
Niles, Michigan, is just over the border from South Bend, Indiana. It holds much in common with its Hoosier neighbors while also having a flavor of its own. Here’s why we love taking out their trash!
Home to many stories and interesting facts ranging from the trivial to the monumental, history lovers will find no difficulty entertaining themselves here!
City of Four Flags
The moniker “City of Four Flags” proves that our city has been a desirable place to settle for centuries. Each flag represents different groups who settled in the area and were then ousted by the next.
The first flag was flown by the Fench Jesuit missionaries who settled here in 1684. The French built Fort St. Joseph to defend it in 1691 but surrendered that fort to the British in 1761, unknowingly holding the record for keeping it the longest until eventual American settlement.
The British flew the second flag but not for long! The French gave Spain all their land west of the Mississippi one year later, and the Spanish later won the fort from the British in 1781.
The Spanish rule was even more short-lived than the British, as in 1783, the new country of the United States of America took over the area for good. However, it was in the 1820s that Americans settled here, giving the village its name in 1829 and fully incorporating it in 1835.
Home to many lovely people over the years, not the least of which is current Beaver Bins and Busy Little Beaver customers, Niles holds a special place in American industrial history as the birthplace of Aaron Montgomery Ward (founder of Montgomery Ward mail-order catalog) and pioneering automobile brothers Horace Elgin and John Francis Dodge who round the Dodge Brothers Company, which decades later sold to Chrysler.
Despite being an earlier center of culture and politics, Fort St. Joseph is relatively understudied. Western Michigan University archaeologists, in partnership with “Support the Fort” and the City, sought to remedy that by excavating parts of it. They found many structural remains, a pit full of carbonized corn cobs, and a gunsmith’s repair kit, among other historical finds.
The Henry A Chapin House is a Michigan State historic site. The house was constructed for Chapin from 1892 to 1894 and, after it donated to the city in the 1930s, served as City Hall until 2012. You can visit the Henry A Chapin Museum in the mansion’s former carriage house.
Like most of the midwest and all of the cities that Beavers Bins serves, The City of Four Flags is also a city of four seasons. The winters dip well below freezing while the summers top out in the nineties, making it ideal for those who are less heat tolerant but don’t mind the cold!
There’s a lot of natural beauty to love here, from the St. Joseph river to the ten local parks. Riverfront Park, in particular, is located along the river and has an amphitheater where residents can enjoy outdoor shows during warmer weather. In addition, opportunities for recreation like canoeing, tubing, boating, fishing, water skiing, bowling, ice skating, golf, racquetball, and cross-country skiing abound.
Their many community events, from movies and trivia nights to major festivals like the Hunter Ice Festival, Apple Festival, and Niles Scream Park, augment Niles’s charming hometown feel.
The Scream Park is honored nationally as one of the best Halloween events in the country and is featured on numerous best-of lists, including Coaster Nation’s! In addition, the park is rebuilt every year with six new attractions across 44 acres! Best of all, all the money made from the event is for charity.
For the less terror-inclined, the fall also offers a carnival atmosphere at our Apple Festival. Then, in January, the Hunter Ice Festival celebrates what the cold gives us with ice sculptures and ice cream from the turn of the century entrepreneurs, the Hunter Brothers Ice and Ice Cream Company.
We Love Niles
With so much to love in Niles, it’s hard to believe there’s anything to throw away! But a clean city is a happy city, and we love doing our part to keep it that way!