Welcome to Sumner Township
 


Welcome to the Sumner Township homepage!

Introducing Michigan’s new Voter Information Center (MVIC):  The new Michigan Voter Information Center website is now up and running!  It provides residents with information regarding their voter registration status, upcoming elections, clerk information and how to use the voting equipment chosen by their county.  

Click Here to visit the site!

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Dates to Remember:

Sumner Township Board Meeting: 2nd Thursday of each month in the Sumner Community Center Township Office.

Recycle operations have changed. Recycling is now available when it is convientent for you. Weekends or weekdays, the bin will be available to drop your recycle when you wish. There will be no attending supervisor, so please be responsible and sort your items properly. There is a barrel available for plastic grocery bags as they are not allowed in the bin until it is full.

Sumner Township Clean Up Day: 3rd Saturday in May and September at the Recycle Barn from 7:30 AM until 11:30 AM.

Sumner Daze Festival: 3rd Week-end in August at the Sumner Community Center and Sumner Centennial Park.

EARLY SUMNER HISTORY:

The first settlers in Sumner Township arrived in the fall of 1854, lumbering provided their main sourse of livelihood. Among the first settlers was George S. Bell, coming from Ohio. He secured 400 acres of land, a saw mill and store soon appeared on the scene, and the site took the name of "Belltown."
In 1868, the village was laid out and dedicated by George and William Stratton, and given the name of "Estella" on September 4 of that year. The post office was established in 1869, and again the towns underwent another name change --this time "Sumner"--. Prior to this, the nearest postal facility was some 23 miles away in Ionia County, a two-day trip through the woods.
Sumner's first school was a one-story log structure built in about 1855, a half-mile north on Ferris Road. Several school buildings followed and were destroyed by fire; the new structure, now the Community Center, was built in 1949.

One of the most familiar landmarks in the early days was the Sumner Hotel. James Hicks built the hotel at the corner of Main street and Ferris Road in 1863, serving the lumbering people and travelers through the area. There was an immaculate dining room, serving home-cooked meals, a spacious parlor and large ballroom, as well as sleeping rooms. A saloon was built on one end of the building in 1904, but was a point of contention among local residents because of its closeness to the school. A large wooden fence was constructed by Bill Robinson to solve that problem. This property passed through many hands over the years, and after 1910 it served as a dwelling to many families, and was vacant when fire took over in 1924.
The corner site of the Cleverdon Store was occupied by that family from 1872 until it was sold to Harold Gunderman in 1956. Mr. Gunderman operated a hardware for a time, and today it is a private dwelling.
In April 1938, two of the principal business places were completely destroyed by fire; stores owned by Mrs. Bernice Jones and Sumner Hoxie, both located next to each other. Mr. Hoxie never rebuilt, but Mrs. Jones had a new building under construction within two weeks, and opened for business again in the summer.

MORE ABOUT SUMNER. . . .

Sumner's only doctor, Dr. Frederick Graham, arrived in 1891 and took care of the town's needs until 1917 when he went to Alma, serving that area until 1940. At that time he turned his practice over to his son, Dr. Bernard J. Graham. It is known that a Dr. Marvin and Dr. Dayton also served the people earlier than that time, however, details are sketchy.
Four churches served the Sumner Township area in earlier years, and three reamin today. The Sumner Center Church of the Nazarene on Warner Road. The United Methodist Church on Lincoln Road, and the Sumner New Hope Tabernacle on Cedar Street in Sumner. These churches remain active in the community today.

Logs and lumbering being the mainstay of Sumner's early heritage, Joseph Fitzpatrick owned and operated a saw mill until 1948, a block off the main street. Logs were brought in by truck, and lumber sold to various places including Lobdell-Emery in Alma, when they were in the furniture business.
Other pioneer businesses included several hardware stores, a wagon shop, saloons, the Forquer General Store, operated by Reason Forquer who had been a resident since 1873, and later by Arthur and Mabel Forquer. There were also harness shops, a millineray store, cobbler shop, meat market, and others throughout the early years.
Due to the lack of refrigeration, the meat market operated only in winter months, but later an enterprising butcher shop owner in neightboring Crystal made two trips each week during the summer months furnishing fresh meats for the village, and later opened a business in Sumner. His name was Harve Sperry, and at the onset of his business had cooolers to preserve the meat year around.
A photography studio, operated by Ralph Holcomb, was another of the early businesses, as well as blacksmith shops; and upon the arrival of that new contraption, the automobile, a garage to service these new-found machines became a part of Sumner's business ventures.

SINCE 1968. . . (Our Centennial Year)
After the 100th year celebration, the Centennial Committee was instrumental in purchasing land between the Pine River, west of Sumner and the race, which ran north along the present Ferris Road. This area was developed as the Sumner Centennial Park, and is the site of many reunions, get togethers, etc., each year, as well as a haven for fishermen on the banks of the Pine River. Sumner Township also purchased the Elm Hall Park in Elm Hall in 2002 and has added some new playground equipment to be enjoyed.
In 1971, Willard Wilson bought his present store from Gretta Smith, and continues to operate it as a family business.

The years of 1980-1981 marked the last school year in the town after more than 120 years. All grades were then annexed to the Ithaca Schools. The children in Sumner Township go to school at either Alma Public Schools or Ithaca Public Schools. In 1983, the school property was purchased by Sumner Township as their headquarters and is known today as the Sumner Township Community Center on Pine Street in Sumner. The building and grounds are used for many events.

Today Sumner Township has a population of aproximately 2000 people. The primary industry is farming, with many family owned farm's, raising corn, hay, wheat, beans etc.

There are also many privately owned small business thoughout the township. The children ride the bus to Alma Public Schools or Ithaca Public Schools. The Village of Sumner has a modern up-to-date grocery store "Wilson's Grocery" were you can buy just about anything you need including gas, it also has the Sumner Post Office with a zip code of 48889 and the Sumner Township Community Center which can be rented for many events.
The Village of Elm Hall is known for having the smallest post office in the United States with a zip code of 48830. It also has an up-to-date party store called "The Store" were you can also purchase gas.