The National Hotel was built by Dorr’s first resident in 1869, the same year the railroad came through and the village was platted. It burned in 1905 and was rebuilt. Pictured is the rebuilt version that stood across the street from Dorr Industries. (Photo courtesy the Then and Now Genealogy Library of Allegan County)

Dorr Township marks 150 years with seven days of fun

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

The unincorporated village of Dorr is the next town to be celebrating its sesquicentennial year. They’ll be doing it by looking forward to a 7-day shindig that starts June 30 and doesn’t end until July 6.

Looking back, Dorr Township was established in 1847, but it wouldn’t be until 1869 that the original village was platted.

Dorr Township’s first meeting was April 1, 1847. They voted to raise $150 for township expenses, $250 for roads, $15 for wolf bounties and $50 for each child 4-18 years of age for school purposes.

The name of Dorr was selected at the suggestion of a settler from Rhode Island. He proposed the town be named after the principal in Dorr’s (Rhode Island) Rebellion.

Today, the Dorr Downtown Business Association has more than 100 business and organization members. At first a lumbering town, it then turned to agriculture and today, suburban, subdivision style development has pressed south from Grand Rapids due in part to quality of life and expressway access.

The village of Dorr was never incorporated and has always been in the hands of an elected town board. Even though urban sprawl is creeping in, you can still find a horse pasture just blocks from the town’s main intersection.

While the centennial celebration noted in 1969 that neighborly volunteers created the community park funded only by Independence Day celebrations, the sesquicentennial celebration (schedule below) benefits the youth sports programs  and events in the Dorr community.

Sources: A Twentieth Century History of Allegan County; River and Lake, Allegan County, A Sesquicentennial History; Dorr Township website; Dorr Centennial 1869-1969; and Then and Now Genealogy Library of Allegan County.



Dorr Township has a week’s worth of Fourth of July celebrations for its sesquicentennial year. Here’s the lineup:

Sunday, June 30

• Noon – Classic Car/Truck Show, South Park

• 4:pm – Christian Music Festival, South Park Stage

Monday, July 1

Noon to Dusk—Free Family Fun Night

• 6 p.m. — Flag Raising at Veterans’ Memorial

• 6:30 p.m. — Activities and Games

• 6:30 p.m. — Family Fun Softball game

Tuesday, July 2

Vets and Pets Night, North Park

Carnival Rides — Late Afternoon

• 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. — Silver Star Café (veteran-owned food truck)

• 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Pet Costume Contest, Pavillion

Allegan County Sheriff K-9 Unit Deputy Blair and his K-9 partner Edo will make an appearance as will Team Red, White, & Blue, Blue Star Mothers, LuvnPupz adoption agency and Chow Hound Pet Supplies.

Wednesday, July 3

• Noon to Dusk, food booths & carnival rides, South Park

• 3 to 7:30 p.m. Community Flea Market

• 7 p.m. Nathan Walton in Concert, soul blues.

Thursday, July 4

Noon-Dusk, food booths & carnival rides

• 7 to 10 a.m. – Community Breakfast, Dorr Christian Reformed Church

• 10:30 a.m. – 4th of July Parade with Fly-Over by historic WWII Fighter Planes

Following the Parade:

-Famous Ox Roast

-Knights of Columbus chicken BBQ

-Bingo Tent

• Noon – Johnny Cash Tribute, Cal Klokkert

• 1 p.m. – KaR Tunes, Acoustic Folk/ Rock

• 2 to 4 p.m. – Open Karaoke Contest

• 7 p.m. – Stolen Horses country concert

• Dusk (10:20 p.m.) –Fireworks

Friday, July 5

Noon to Dusk, food booths & carnival rides

• 7 p.m. — Luke Lenhart, stage music

• 9:30 p.m. — Movie “Back to the Future”

Saturday, July 6

Food booths & carnival rides

• 8 a.m. – Grace & Kylee’s Angel Dash 5K Run/Walk, Bysterveld Park

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Community Flea Market

• 12 to 3 p.m. – Bingo Tent

All-Ages Family Games – Prizes, North Park Pavilion

• 10 a.m. — Disc Golf

• 2 p.m. — Corn Hole Tournament

• 3 to 5 p.m. — Ice Cream Social - free ice cream bars

• 3 p.m. — Tug of War

• 3:30 p.m. — 3 Legged Race

• 4 p.m. — Football Bowling “Fowling”

• 5 p.m. — 50/50 Euchre Tournament

Go to for more details.

For the full story, pick up a copy of theJune 20, 2019, issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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