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Looking back: Sparta Township

History of Sparta Township told through photographs

These children are taking part in a watermelon-eating contest at one of the parks in Sparta Township, in the early 1950s or 1960s.

Sparta author Kathryn Paasch teamed up with the Sparta Township Historical Commission to create the new book Images of America: Sparta Township. The book boasts more than 200 vintage images and memories of days gone by.

Known for its small-town charm and a beautiful countryside, the area known as Sparta Township was first settled in 1844, and over the next two years it would become home to those pursuing dreams in the logging industry. Rich in a variety of forests, and with the Rogue River and Nash Creek running through it, Sparta first developed saw and flour mills.

In the late 1800s, the “Ridge” developed along the western edge of town, where the land was prime for growing a variety of fruits. When the Pere Marquette Railroad passed through town, it brought opportunity for thriving industry, including the Welch Folding Bed Company, Carnation Creamery, and Sparta Foundry.

Sparta enjoyed community picnics, apple smorgasbords, and the Lady of the Lake cruise ship that famously sank to the bottom of Camp Lake. A sense of close-knit community still thrives in the area today.

The book, published by Arcadia Publishing was released Monday, March 14. It is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.

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