Prairie Ronde Township, Michigan

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Prairie Ronde Township is a civil township located in the extreme southwestern corner of Kalamazoo County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,086 at the 2000 census.

Prairie Ronde is the birthplace of the women's suffragist Olympia Brown.

Contents

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.4 square miles (94.3 km²), of which 35.8 square miles (92.7 km²) is land and 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²) (1.73%) is water.

There are no incorporated or unincorporated communities within the boundaries of the township. A village named Shirland, to be located on Section 25 (near the present-day Olde Mill Golf Course), was platted and recorded in 1831, but it never developed.[3][4] Most of the township lies within the Schoolcraft zip code (49087), except for small areas in the northwest and south which are part of the Lawton (49065) and Marcellus (49067) zip codes, respectively.[5]

Surface water features include Harrison and Paw Paw Lakes in the northern part of the township. Much of the township lies within the drainage area of Flowerfield Creek, which is part of the Rocky River Sub-Watershed, itself part of the larger St. Joseph River Watershed.[6] The Michigan Nature Association maintains a 20-acre (81,000 m2) nature sanctuary along Flowerfield Creek in Prairie Ronde Township.[7]

History

The township is named for its distinctive geographic feature, the Prairie Ronde, a 14,000-acre (57 km2) grassland and the largest of the eight prairies in what would become Kalamazoo County.[8] The name Prairie Ronde (French for "round meadow") is said to have been given by French explorer Robert Sieur de la Salle during an overland crossing of the region in 1680.[9] (Some scholars, however, place LaSalle's route across northern Kalamazoo County, a journey which would not have brought him across the Prairie Ronde.[10])

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