Berrien County was first settled in 1780 by William Burnett who set up the area as a trading post. Berrien County was officially born in October of 1829, when the Michigan Legislature platted the Michigan Territory. Initially attached to Cass County, Berrien County was formed in its present state in 1831, when the two were detached. Although Berrien County experienced a declining population throughout the latter half of the 20th century, that trend has reversed. Many are now flocking to Berrien for its abundant lakes and diverse wildlife, including legendary boxer Muhammad Ali.
Berrien County is served by the Berrien County School System, as well as a number of private schools, for elementary as well as secondary education. Andrews University, a Seventh-day Adventist university, is located in Berrien Springs, offering over 130 undergraduate and 70 graduate majors in eight schools. Interstates 94 and 196 run through the county, and Amtrak service to Chicago and Detroit is available in Niles.
Berrien County is home to a number of state parks, as well as a number of beaches and forest preserves. Benton Harbor is home to The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, a Jack Nicklaus designed course, and two time host of the Senior PGA Championship. A number of popular wineries are located in the area, and a plentiful number of fruit orchards provide for enjoyable summer and fall fruit-picking outings. Lake Michigan is undoubtedly the largest attraction in the county, with boating, fishing and swimming popular in the summer months.
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