Neighborhood History

The Picture is Bridgman Main Street in 1909
Check out more picutures of old time Bridgman on the neighborhood pictures page.

This history of the neighborhood plays a vital part in the identity of its residents. If you have lived in the neighborhood for many years, the neighborhood history is a heartfelt reminder of days gone by.

We would love nothing more than to be able to share the history of neighborhood name with all who reside there. If you are interested in writing a brief history of the neighborhood to share with the community, please contact us!
  • Lumber Company
    Very interesting. While in the process of remodeling our house, my husband removed the baseboard and discovered it was stamped with black ink Bridgman Lumber and Supply Company. We think our house is well over 100 yrs old. We just were wondering where was the lumber company located? We will be cutting that section of wood and displaying it. Very interesting.
  • The Three George Bridgman's
    Clarifying any confusion about who the three George Bridgmans were
    (1) George Bridgman, the founder of Bridgman, Michigan, was born in Belchertown, Massachusetts in 1813. The Bridgman family genealogy, published in 1894, describes him as follows: He early located in Berrien County Michigan. He found the place a new settlement, and his energy, perseverance, public spirit and strict integrity greatly conduced to the growth of the town, which was named for him. Mr. and Mrs. Bridgman were whole-souled Abolitionists at a time when it cost something to be the slave's friend. Many of Africa's sons and daughters have blessed God for their labors in behalf of the colored race. He died in 1895 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Bridgman.

    (2) His son, George W. Bridgman, was born in Lee, Massachusetts in 1844. He graduated from Columbian College (now George Washington University), Washington, D.C., and joined the Treasury Department. This was during the Civil War and employees of the Treasury Department were technically members of the Union Army. They weren't required to wear uniforms, but had to keep their uniforms and rifles handy for special assignments or in the event of an emergency (presumably Lee's army invading Washington). Soon after joining the Treasury Department President Lincoln was assassinated and George was ordered to put on his uniform and report for duty as a member of the honor guard for Lincoln's funeral. He was admitted to the bar in 1868. He joined his father in Michigan in 1872 and divided his time between farming and practicing law. In 1 887 he was elected prosecuting attorney for Berrien County and served four years. In 1911 he was elected circuit judge and served six years before returning to general law practice in Benton Harbor. He died in 1929 and is buried at Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor.

    (3) His son, George C. Bridgman, was born in Bridgman, Michigan in 1882. On completing his schooling, he went into the retail drug business in Benton Harbor. For twelve years he was an alderman representing the fourth ward. He was elected Sheriff of Berrien County, serving from 1921 to 1925. In 1922 Sheriff Bridgman, accompanied by federal agents, led 22 of his deputies on a raid of a Communist Convention being clandestinely held at a resort in Bridgman. Full details of that event can be found in the book currently being compiled by the Bridgman/Lake Township Historical Society. A newspaper account from the era gives a general description of Sheriff Bridgman: Relentless warfare on thieves, gamblers, dope peddlers and auto speeders has distinguished th e public service of George C. Bridgman, sheriff of Berrien County Michigan. He is insisting upon enforcement of the law impartially and is determined upon a course of persistent attack upon criminals and crooks and those who regard human life lightly by driving their automobiles at an excessive rate of speed. George C. Bridgman never married and therefore the Bridgman surname in Berrien County ended with him. He died in 1936 and is buried at Crystal Springs Cemetery in Benton Harbor.

    And there we have it: the father, the son and the grandson, all named George Bridgman, and each one making his mark on Berrien County and Bridgman history.
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