MICHIGAN FRUIT BELT
Moving from Forest to Fruit Belt highlights authentic local artifacts from the lumbering and agriculture industries that transformed Southwest Michiganís landscape and created our modern communities. Youíll see lumbering tools, bobsleds, and maps illustrate the intensive cutting and use of the areaís forest over 150 years ago. Harvest of the centuries-old forest here began a few yeas before Michigan became a state in 1837 and saw mills were scattered through the area for the next half century. The rivers and creeks floated local timber to Lake Michigan for sale, while the railroad later served local lumber yards.
As the forest was cleared, pioneer settlers bought the land. Many worked for years to build up orchards, barns, a home, and othe rfeatures of a thriving farm. Peek in to th ebarn of a farm homestead. Learn about our range of horse-drawn and engine-powered farm equipment, and the unique history of the Fruit Belt from a commercial Fruit Grader, 1934 Parrett Tractor, and 1924 Dodge Truck all used by local farmers. Turn the power crank on a Hardi spray rig to watch it move. Throughout this region farmers found great success growing fruit, but not without challenges. Many related ventures became important to the area, including basket-making, fruit processing, farm supply, market exchanges, and community traditions. Moving from Forest to Fruit Belt is an immersive, interactive experience of the vehicles, machinery, photographs, advertising, community, and culture that are at the heart of Southwest Michiganís Fruit Belt.