Norton Shores, Michigan

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Norton Shores is a city in Muskegon County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 22,527 at the 2000 census.



Norton Shores is located on the shores of Lake Michigan in Muskegon County. The community of 22,527 residents encompasses over 24 square miles (62 km2) including Mona Lake and Black Lake as well as Hoffmaster State Park.

Norton Shores might best be described as a suburban environment with a balance of industrial and commercial development. It has also led the county in residential construction permits for the past five years. The city offers educational opportunities from the Mona Shores Public Schools to Muskegon Community College, Baker College and Grand Valley State University.


The Chippewa, Potawatomi and Ottawa Indians for hundreds of years occupied the wilds of Western Michigan. The Native American tribes were very protective of the natural environment Mother Nature put on this earth. When the immigrants arrived they found openings in the forest made by the Native Americans, which were used to raise food.

Norton Township was originally organized in 1845 by settlers of the village of Mill Point (now Spring Lake). The township was named in honor of Col. Amos Norton, a Canadian patriot who was implicated in the rebellion of 1837.

Norton Township was part of Ottawa County and also included the Townships of Fruitport and Sullivan. In 1855 Spring Lake Township was detached from Norton and organized as a township in Ottawa County. Norton Township was separated from Ottawa County in 1859 and became a part of Muskegon County. The population of Norton Township in 1860 was 197 and in 1864 was 229.

In 1847 the first sawmill in Norton Township was built. It was known as Robinson's Mill and was located at the head of Black Lake (now known as Mona Lake).

In 1850, Ira Porter arrived at Mona Lake. He operated Porter Sawmill and a fruit farm. One of the largest fruit farms in Norton Township was operated by G. N. Cobb who also operated a box factory for fifteen years beginning in 1869. With the closing of the sawmills and the box factory, residents turned to raising fruit which became a very profitable industry. Boats would enter Lake Harbor and make a trip around the lake picking up crates of berries at the docks of the growers. They would then return to Lake Michigan with their cargo and transfer it to large steamers bound for Chicago.

Thanks to the Norton Township Volunteer Fire Department and the cooperation of the Norton Township Board, action was taken to incorporate Norton Township into a Home Rule City. An election to determine if Norton Township should be incorporated into a Home Rule City passed by a two to one margin and nine charter commissioners were elected to draw up the first City Charter which was adopted on April 16, 1968.

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