Farms, Trains, and Rock 'n' Roll
In 1845, Benjamin Cooper of Utica, New York, purchased 640 acres in northeast Ottawa County to harvest timber. The area was heavily forested and had close proximity to the Grand River where timber could be transported to Grand Haven, a major shipping port on the Great Lakes. Gradually the forests became fields, and farming replaced lumbering. Coopersville still maintains its rural ambiance with over 50 percent of land within the city limits still committed to agriculture. American rock ‘n’ roll singer-songwriter Del Shannon grew up here and went on to have a number 1 hit with the song “Runaway” in 1961.
Today, Coopersville is home to a quaint, historic downtown district where visitors can take a ride on the Coopersville & Marne Railway, learn about the area’s agriculture past at the Coopersville Farm Museum, attend the annual Del Shannon Car Show, and see one of Michigan’s first and longest running nighttime parades – the Annual Nighttime Christmas Parade in December.