Graafschap Christian Reformed Church

Graafschap Christian Reformed Church (HM1EDP)

Location: Holland, MI 49423 Allegan County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 45.148', W 86° 7.983'

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(Side One)
Erected in 1862, this church was the center of the Dutch immigrant community. The first settlers in this area arrived in early 1847 led by the Reverend Albertus C. V. Raalte. In June of that year a separate group of seventy people from Graafschap Betheim, near the Dutch border, founded this village which they named Graafschap. Joined by thirty-four other immigrants from Drente, the Netherlands, the villagers shared common religious views and spoke similar dialects. Before erecting a log church in 1849 near this site, these early settlers attended services conducted by Van Raalte in nearby Holland. Graafschap followed Van Raalte's example by affiliating with the Reformed Church in America in 1850. Seven years later the congregation severed that tie and reasserted its independence.

(Side Two)
Those who established this church were among thousands of Europeans who sought to escape religious and political persecution and economic depression by emigrating to America in the 1840s. Later Graafschap was one of the founding members of the Christian Reformed Church which bound itself closely to Dutch customs and ways of thinking, as evidenced by the fact that this church's parishioners continued to speak Dutch for two generations. This structure is made of hand-hewn timber and one of the roof beams spans its entire length. Although modified by the addition of educational facilities in 1922 and the expansion of the entry in 1937 and 1949, the main church structure remains intact. The Graafschap Christian Reformed Church is a noteworthy symbol of continuity in what is still a predominately Dutch-German-American community.

(Inset on Side Two)
The main structure of the 1862 church was rebuilt in 2000 using the original beams to construct the Heritage Center.
Series This marker is part of the Michigan: Michigan Historical Commission series
Marker NumberL483
Year Placed1977
Placed ByMichigan History Division, Department of State
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, September 25th, 2014 at 5:20pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16T E 570946 N 4733691
Decimal Degrees42.75246667, -86.13305000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 45.148', W 86° 7.983'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 45' 8.88" N, 86° 7' 58.98" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)616
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 4589 Church St, Holland MI 49423, US
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