Culp Dam

Croton Township, Newaygo County

The board, at its September 3, 1853 meeting, authorized Christopher Culp to build a dam across the Muskegon River near Croton on lot 2 of section 4. This was the first dam authorized across the Big Muskegon. However, Culp did not get started immediately and another dam was authorized across the river at Newaygo. The Newaygo Company's dam was started the same year and was completed before the Culp dam was built.

Three sawmills where built in 1855. The Culp mill, The Weaver mill, and Mace Gay, acting as president of the Union Lumber Company of Elm Grove built a mill on lot 6, section 14, Bridgeton Township.

The sawmills operating in Newaygo County in 1856 were those of Merrill, Brooks, Mitchell, Culp, Bigelow, Gay, Newaygo Company and E. H. Utley.

On December 11, 1855 Solomon Godfrey and Christopher Culp purchased 27.45 acres for $1.25 per acre. Lot #4, Section 32, Township 13N, Range 11W. Their land patent was recorded on March 10, 1856.

In 1856, Solomon Godfrey bought an interest in the Culp mill. The dam and sawmill were sold to John F. Snow in 1857. In 1860 A. P. Bigelow ran the mill. This is the last record of its operation. The settlement around the mill is still called Snowtown. It is near the present site of the Hardy dam.

In 1856 the board of supervisors passed resolutions for the building of roads from Newaygo to White River, from Newaygo to Croton, and from Croton to Culp & Godfrey's mill. It also provided for the building of a bridge at Croton.

Newaygo County mills assessed in 1857 were Culp's, $4,000; Utley's, $1,800; Weaver's, $1,500; Newaygo Company's, $25,000; Brooks', $6,000; Merrill's, $5,000; Gay's, $6,000; Backart's Bigelow's $5,000; Bigelow's $2,000.

1. General Land Entry Files, National Archives, Washington, DC 20408
2. Portrait and Biographical Album of Newaygo County 1884
3. History of the Dam
4. Historical Gazetteer of Newaygo County Michigan, Ronald Steven Taylor Newaygo, Michigan copyright 1985
5. Lumber in Newago County