Located in Van Buren County, in the heart of Michigan’s wine country, Mattawan illustrates rural living at its best. Tucked into the rolling meadows of Michigan’s celebrated vineyards, the small-town charm of this unique city is not to be missed.
The first people to settle in Mattawan County were the Mound Builders nearly 500 years ago. In more contemporary times, the Potawatomi Indians inhabited the area for many years, until they left Michigan prior to its statehood in 1836. In 1839, when Nathaniel Cheesboro was given a land grant for the Michigan Central Railroad, he named the station “Mattawan,” after a town on the Hudson River, meaning “Good Pelts.”
The Mattawan Consolidated School System, which is comprised of three grade schools and a high school, serves the town. The Mattawan School System is notable because all of the school buildings and sports facilities are on one unified campus, something which is completely unique to the town. Although it is a rural community, Mattawan is easily accessed off of Interstate 94, and a short seven miles from the Kalamazoo area. Its proximity to Kalamazoo expands the transportation options available to residents, including Amtrak service to Chicago and Detroit, and commercial airline service.
Mattawan’s economy is driven by a strong manufacturing sector, encompassing plastic products and pharmaceutical research and development. The vibrant downtown area features a large, attractive city park on one side of the main street and a row of local shops and restaurants on the other, and underwent a major overhaul in 2009. While the original area remained the same, new businesses have joined in, expanding the number and variety of Mattawan merchants.