VERGENNES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A historic village in Kent County that was a westward crossing point over the Flat River now serves as a museum.

“Fallasburg Village was one of the first settlements after the western expansion in 1837 and it was the east-west crossing on the Flat River just north of the Grand River,” Craig Fonger, president of Fallasburg Historical Society, said.

The area was sold to John “Wesley” Fallas and his brother in 1837 and grew to be a road stop.

“(The village consists of) homes, many of them had workshops of various types — metal workers, coopers, farriers, anything that you could think of that the pioneer era would need for, basically, a road stop on basically a highway … (including) three places to stay for travelers,” he said.


The Fallasburg Historical Society began in 1965 just after the village’s schoolhouse closed its doors to students to preserve the history of the village.

The Historic Fallasburg Village’s schoolhouse on April 21, 2023.

The schoolhouse was in service until the 1960s. Today, when students or children visit, Fogner said they are surprised that in years past, students did their work on slates.

“The teacher used to have kids do math work and writing work on little rectangular slate boards (with) chalk. It could be easily erased and used again,” he explained.

In addition to being a schoolhouse, the Fallasburg Methodist Episcopal Church used the building as a meeting place while providing a parsonage for their minister. According to the historical society’s website, it’s unclear when the home was built. The deed was dated 1851.

According to the historical society’s website, the schoolhouse serves as a venue for events throughout the year.


When visitors stop by the historic village, they enter through a covered bridge that dates back to the 1800s and was a main crossing for many going west.

“The bridge is the narrowest crossing north of the Grand River on the Flat River, the first narrowest crossing that a bridge could be put,” Fonger said.

He explained that the historical society doesn’t know exactly when the first bridge was built but is guessing construction began in 1837 or 1838.

“It wasn’t until 1871 that the current covered bridge was built,” he said, adding that it is believed that there were three or four flat-deck bridges built before the current 100-foot covered bridge.

According to the historical society’s website, there is a $5 fine for riding or driving faster than a walk.


Just past the bridge is a hill that blocks the view of the village. Fonger said one of the challenges that the historical society faces is getting visitors past the hill and into the village itself.

Once you’re past the hill, you go past the newly built summer cottage, the Fallasburg General Store built in the 1840s and the Fallasburg Inn before arriving at the Fallas House.

Visitors can explore the home of village founder John “Wesley” Fallas. The home was built in 1842.

“He and his wife lived there until death in the 1890s,” Fogner said.

It now serves as a museum that showcases Fallas family documents, pictures and artifacts.

When he died, he asked his two sons to build a barn in his honor — which is now at the far end of the village. Fogner explained that he specifically asked that they build it in the “old style.”

“At a time where you’re seeing more concrete used for foundations, this was actually used building boulders and rocks as the foundation,” he said. “Also, you’ll find that the floor joists are half-round trees at a time when it was more popular to use just purely milled wood for the barns.”


The Historic Fallasburg Village’s Misner House on April 21, 2023.

Another home visitors can explore is a replica of the house built for David Misner.

“It was originally built back in the 1860s, but in 1998, a full-scale replica of what once was there was built,” Fogner said.

According to the historical society’s website, it serves as the main location of the Fallasburg Historical Society and houses the memorabilia collection on the lower level.


The Historic Fallasburg Village’s post office on April 21, 2023.

The post office was home to John M. Waters in 1851 and was in operation until 1901.

The historical society’s website says this is a private residence and asks that visitors do not disturb the residents.

The Historic Fallasburg Village’s Stagecoach Inn on April 21, 2023.

The Old Stagecoach Inn was built in the 1840s and was a place where travelers could rest, get some food and sleep.

According to the historical society’s website, this is a private residence and visitors are asked not to disturb the residents.

The historical society also has archives. Anyone interested in accessing them is asked to call the historical society at 616.987.1150.

To see a list of all the structures in the village, click here.

Free guided and self-guided tours are available. Donations are encouraged. The schoolhouse is open most Sundays from June to September from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment. Call 616.987.1150 to make an appointment or schedule a guided tour. For more information on the village, visit the Fallasburg Historical Society’s website.