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How Does Your Hometown Get It’s Name

I often make jokes about living in Sparta. Sparta is a small town with all the usual charm of small town living. Joke as I do, Sparta actually is a very nice place to live. Not a lot of ego. No crime to speak of and the schools are good. What is there not to like.

I am often asked about the “village” of Sparta, as if it some kind of outpost along the Rogue River. Really, all it means is that Sparta “village” remains part of the township of Sparta. Because of this, village governments are required to share some of the responsibilities to their residents with the township. Cities are often a little bigger and more autonomous than villages.

Having said all that, Sparta was basically an outpost. A spot for a lumber mill on the river and a couple creeks, really. Mills came and went, lumber came and went, people came and stayed. There was a state highway and railroad passing goods and people thru.

Next thing you know, you have Sparta. Used to be called Nashville, but they had to change the name.

The Sparta area was first settled in 1844, with the Township formally organized in 1846. The first settler in what is now the village was Jonathan Nash in 1846. Calling the place Nashville, he built a sawmill on Lick Creek. Subsequently, he changed the name of the creek to Nash Creek. Seeing as there was already a Nashville in Michigan, the state legislature suggested Sparta.

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