Hesperia’s original name was “New Ocea”, reflecting its location in both the Counties of Oceana and Newaygo. It was later changed to Hesperia about the time a post office was opened. ~Hesperia Centennial Book:
30 Miles to Muskegon
60 Miles to Grand Rapids
126 Miles to Lansing
215 Miles to Detroit
24 Miles Lake Michigan
211 Miles to Chicago
Hesperia is a village located in the state of Michigan. The village is situated on the boundary between Oceana County and Newaygo County, with about half of the village in Newfield Township in Oceana County and half in Denver Township in Newaygo County. The population was 954 at the 2000 census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.9 square miles. Approximately 0.8 square miles of the village is land and 0.1 square miles is water.
Significant Events in Hesperia’s History
The following dates and events were found in the recorded minutes
of village council meetings and the Hesperia Centennial Book.
1858 William Hoskins, erected the first house at the corner of Smith Street & South Avenue just outside the present village.
1865 The “Log Store” was erected on the north side of the White River just outside the present village limits.
1866 Daniel Weaver and John Cook built a steam-operated sawmill near the present dam site.
1866 A school building was located on the flat north of the White River. The building was later moved to the northwest side of South Avenue and Division Street.
1866 Thaddeus Waters and John Cook platted the village.
1867 The first post office was established in Weaver’s Store.
1868 Hoskins, Weaver, and Cook deeded blocks “O” and “P” to the public for the Hesperia Public Park.
1871 Daniel Weaver built a flourmill on the north side of the White River.
1875 The first newspaper, The Hesperian, was founded by Daniel Weaver’s son, Daniel L. Weaver.
1877 Baptist Church was erected on South Division Street and Church Avenue.
1883 Hesperia became a village.
1883 The Presbyterian Church was erected.
1884 There was daily stagecoach service to Fremont and White Cloud.
1897 Frank Miller opened the first bank in Hesperia.
1898 Bell Telephone Co. was granted permission to set telephone poles on Division Street.
1898 Methodist Church was dedicated.
1901 The Mason and Oceana Rail Road Co. was granted permission to occupy Weaver Street for railroad purposes. The depot was not to exceed three hundred feet east of Greenback Street. (The railroad was never built.)
1910 The State Bank of Hesperia was organized.
1911 An ordinance was adopted abolishing saloons in the village.
1911 The power house was built.
1914 Signs were erected to post speed limits for automobiles.
1916 The Woman’s Literary Club started the public library in the Rowland Building.
1917 Village purchased Webster Grove to be used as a public park.
1922 Division Street was paved with cement from Weaver Street to Michigan Avenue.
1924 A traffic officer was hired when a petition from citizens wanted speed limits on automobiles to be enforced. (Citizens also suggested the village could secure service from the state police.)
1925 GAR received permission to erect a Soldier’s Monument.
1926 A well was put down in Weaver Park.
1933 The pubic library was moved to the Village Hall.
1934 The Greater Hesperia Business Association started a movement to consolidate Oceana and Newaygo Counties or to have the entire village in Newaygo County.
1934 A beer license was issued as prohibition had recently ended.
1934 A kitchen was added to Hesperia Public Park (Weaver Park).
1936 A jail cell was installed in the Fire Barn. The village hall had housed a jail cell since 1900.
1938 Leland S. Weaver sold land to the village for $300 to be known as Weaver Park.
1941 The first school bus was purchased by the school district.
1944 The volunteer Fire Depart was reorganized.
1947 First commercial garbage collection service was approved.
1947 The Michigan Associated Telephone Company reported that dial conversion was in progress.
1948 A well was put in Webster Park.
1948 Christ the King Catholic Church was established.
1949 The Hesperia Free Fair was organized.
1949 Bus service included three runs daily from Hesperia to Muskegon. In one year, 48,000 passengers were transported.
1951 A 10 inch water well was installed to replace a 8 inch well that failed.
1951 The village clerk was instructed to put up house numbers.
1952 Consumers Power gave the dam property to the village.
1953 The Carnation Milk Company was creating problems with their smoke stack and wastewater.
1953 The Village Hall was razed and rebuilt in 1954.
1953 The Chamber of Commerce and school board met at the village council meeting to discuss the need to take action to make the school better.
1954 There was a drive-in theater at the Rodeo Grounds.
1955 Two buildings were erected in Hesperia Public Park (Weaver Park) for the Hesperia Free Fair Association.
1956 Munn Street was created.
1956 The Post Office was located in a brick building on Division Street just north of Michigan Avenue.
1962 William Branstrom built a 3,400 square foot library in Webster Park for the community in memory of his mother, Amelia.
1965 M-20 Highway from Hesperia to U.S.-31 was opened.
1965 Michigan Consolidated Gas Co. brought natural gas service to Hesperia.
1966 The Baptist Church on Smith Street was built.
1967 An ordinance was adopted to not allow any more house trailers or mobile homes within the village limits.
1968 M-20 from Hesperia to White Cloud was rebuilt and widened.
1972 O.J. Morse Drive was platted.
1973 Don Turple announced plans for the Old Mill Camp
1975 Plans began for a wastewater collection and treatment facility.
1975 Tennis and Shuffleboard Courts were added to Webster Park with a $14,500 grant from the state. The total cost of the project was $29,000.
1977 John and Mary Kuhart were paid $1,500 for 60 acres north of the White River for the sewer treatment project.
1978 The village bought what is now the present DPW building from Charles and Irene Morse for $25,000 to be used for managing the sewer treatment facility.
1980 The Wastewater collection and sewer treatment system began operating.
1981 A July 4th Celebration was started. Later became known as the Family Fun Fest.
1982 Cable Vision installed cable TV service in the village.
1983 The mobile home park was developed adjacent to the village. The village provides sewer service to park.
1986 A spillway was constructed at the dam site, after the stability of the dam was threatened during the flood.
1988 The Hesperia Beautification Committee was organized.
1989 The Michigan Department of Public Health required the village to construct and use an elevated water storage tank at a cost of $330,000.
1992 The DNR funded the Hesperia Scenic Area Project that included two ball fields, walkways to the islands above the dam, a boardwalk, parking area and bathrooms. The project was completed in 1994.
1993 911 emergency service commenced.
1996 The new High School was opened.
1997 A new pavilion and playground was added to Weaver Park.
1999 The Village Fire Department was dissolved. The village is served by the Hesperia Area Fire District that was formed by Newfield, Denver, and Greenwood Townships.
1999 The village tried to get jurisdiction over the Hesperia Intercounty Drain district in order to have control of the repairs and improvements that were needed. The Drain Board voted to keep control and proceeded with the improvements that were assessed to properties in the district.
2001 A new post office was opened on Michigan Ave.
2001 Division Street was improved from Sunset Drive to South Avenue with new curbing and water mains. The project included widening the street from two to three lanes.
2002 The Village Council purchased the Oceana County Garage facility for use by the DPW.
2002 The library was renovated and expanded to 11,900 square feet and renamed the Hesperia Community Library.
2003 The North Division Street Bridge was reconstructed.
The White River was named for a deposit of white marl occurring near its mouth. This was well known to the Indians, who used the marl in washing their blankets. This deposit was dredged out during lumbering days. ~Hal Bush
Significant Assets in the Village of Hesperia MI
Full Range of Essential Businesses
The community is fortunate to have successful businesses that cover most needs. These include a pharmacy, grocery store, hardware, variety store, bank, real estate, insurance, funeral home, restaurants, Laundromat, auto repair, and hair salons. It is a great asset to have all of these available in a compact area that is not congested and that has convenient parking. Local businesses are a significant asset to a community.
Full Range of Public Services
The Hesperia Community Library is a district library serving the residents of four townships including the Village of Hesperia. Residents have free access to not only the library’s holdings but also the holdings of 80 other libraries throughout West Michigan. The online catalog, wireless Internet service, and meeting space are some of the many valuable services that are available to residents.
The Hesperia Area Fire Department is self-funded and provides fire protection to Newfield, Greenwood, and Denver Townships, including the Village of Hesperia.
A new facility was opened in 2001 on Michigan Avenue. It provides area residents a complete line of services while maintaining rural delivery service to village residents and the outlying areas
The Hesperia school district extends north to Beaver and Leavitt Townships and south to Dayton and Greenwood Townships. There 1089 students and 60 teachers.
Ambulance service in located in village while serving the outlying areas. Providing the service a collaborative project of Greenwood, Newfield, and Denver Townships.
There are five churches in the village: Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and one undenominational.
HEALTH AND MEDICAL:
Residents can get convenient family health care in the village. Gerber Memorial Health Services operates a physician’s office, in addition, there are two dentists who provide dental services. Gerber Memorial Hospital is 12 miles away and has been recognized at one of the top 100 small hospitals in the United States and medical specialties are offered there from Spectrum Health of Grand Rapids.
M-120 and M-20 are significant commuter routes for workers and students. The closest major urban area is Muskegon, less than 30 miles which makes it a convenient commute for shoppers, tourists, and workers. The village was uniquely situated when in 1965, the State of Michigan constructed a new16 mile highway directly west from the village limits to U.S. 31 north of Shelby. A few years later, MDOT made another major change when One Mile Road was improved from the village limits to M-37, just north of White Cloud. The new highway from M-37 to U.S.-31 became M-20 which previously went from White Cloud to Fremont. These changes and improvements situated Hesperia on a major highway through west Michigan.
The White River and the Manistee National Forest provide a wide range of four season recreational activities including hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, snowmobiling, and skiing.
Fremont Area Community Foundation
The Fremont Area Community Foundation generously funds worthy projects.
There is a wide range of housing choices.
Telephone (Land Service)
Local telephone service is available from Verizon with varying line quality throughout the village.
Cellular phone service
Nextel and Cellular One transmit signals from the water tower under a leasing contract with the village government. While service is not 100% coverage, customers have found it to be relatively reliable to outlying areas extending about 4 miles.
The current contract with Charter extends to October, 2013 and currently offers simple basic TV service. Digital services are not being provided by Charter under the current contract.
Customers have limited choices beyond dial-up. Wireless (NCATS) and DSL (Frontier) are available to some properties.