Thursday, October 4, 2007

A City On The Rise

The City of Buchanan was settled in 1833 at the spot where McCoy Creek meets the St. Joseph River and was once a major transportation route for Native American tribes in the area, especially the Potawatomi.

An historical marker to that effect has been placed on Moccasin Trail north of Buchanan near Batchelor's Island.

Buchanan is in the midst of a civic rebirth in that many of the historic buildings that have come to define the downtown district are under renovation.

Not to be lost in translation, it is important to be cognizant of the industry that once flourished here.

Buchanan was historically known as the headquarters for Clark Equipment Corporation. A manufacturer of truck axles, fork lift trucks, front-end loaders, and other heavy machinery; Clark left the area in the 1990's and this departure forced the city to diversify which resulted in a number of smaller businesses which ultimately took over the buildings that Clark had essentially donated to the city.

Another industry leader was the Electro Voice Corporation which was a manufacturer of high quality audio equipment such as microphones, amplifiers and loudspeakers. Soon after being purchased by Telex Communications, Inc., Electro-Voice's management left Buchanan and several years later, in 2002, the remaining Electro-Voice manufacturing plant closed.

In addition to the remnants of industry, it is the beauty of this enclave that truly defines the character of Buchanan.

Bear Cave is a camping resort north of Buchanan featuring a cave which was once a stop along the Under Ground Railroad, assisting freed and escaped slaves from the Southern States to reach freedom in the Northern States or Canada. Bear Cave offers canoeing and boating along the St. Joseph River.

The Tin Shop Theater, located near Pears Mill, is a wonderful, little theater with great performances in the summer. The seasons run into September and a variety of shows for everyone of any age and any occasion are performed here.

Pears Mill which utilized the water power of the swiftly flowing McCoy Creek, was built in 1857. This beautiful piece of Americana remains open during the summer for visitors.

Fernwood is a nature preserve along the Eastern bank of the St. Joseph River along Rangeline Road and Redbud Track 'N' Trail is an event site north of Buchanan featuring motocross, BMX, and other motor sport activities. Certain races held there are of national interest and are often featured on ESPN and other such cable sports networks.

The hidden treasure and jewel of Buchanan lies in the diversity of the citizenry. There are winemakers and farmers, there are entrepreneurs and visionaries, but best of all there are the people who will shape the future while embracing the past.

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