Charlton Park Village and Museum is a recreated late 19th century village of 25 historic residences, businesses and community buildings that sits on 310 acres along the Thornapple River. It was established in 1936 after Irving Charlton donated the property to Barry County, Michigan. He then bequeathed his significant collection of historical artifacts to the museum upon his death in 1963.
was completed in 1950 and the other buildings were relocated from their
original locations, with the blacksmith’s shop being the first to arrive in
1970. The village accurately depicts the
life of rural Michiganites as they went about their daily lives in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries.
buildings at Charlton Park include a barber’s shop, general store, Charlton
Center Church, print shop, and the Bristol Inn, which served as a stagecoach
stop from 1848-1869 as passengers traveled from Battle Creek to Grand Rapids. There is also an archaeological dig site
located at the village known as the Methodist Episcopal Mission. The Mission strived to convert Native
Americans to Christianity from 1849-1855 and then became a private residence. By 1894, all that remained of the original
building was its foundation.
also offers many educational programs, guided tours, special events, shelters
and pavilions for picnics, and a recreational area that provides boating,
fishing, swimming, and hiking opportunities, weather permitting.