Our development started in forested wilderness land which had been inhabited for many years by Native American tribes who had been drawn here by the great Grand River. The oldest settler on record in the township was Justin Stiles, Jr. a prominent farmer, who came to Polkton in 1836. Settlements, farms, homesteads, churches, school, river boats and sawmills became important parts of Polkton.
Polkton Township was established on March 19th 1845 and encompasses 39 square miles. The township was named after the 11th President of the United States, James K. Polk. The first township meeting was held on April 7th, 1845 at the home of Dr. Timothy Eastman, the meeting was adjourned and moved to the school house nearby and township officers were elected with 21 voters present. T. Eastman-Supervisor, J.V. Hopkins-Clerk, P. Maxfield-Treasurer with several other positions. A sum of $100.00 was voted on for township expenses.
In the 1850’s there was much excitement about the steam railroad coming through Eastmanville, the area was plotted and a hotel was built. The railroad instead decided to set down tracks through Coopersville, which led Eastmanville gradually into a much quieter existence. In 1921 Frederic Eastman, Dr. Timothy Eastman’s grandson, had the big swimming rock brought up from the river and placed at the northeast corner of Leonard and 68th Ave in honor of his grandfather Timothy and his father Mason Eastman. That rock remains near that location today.
During the periods from 1902-1928, an electric interurban railway cut through Polkton Township bringing passengers to and from its many stops as it ran from Grand Rapids to Muskegon and Grand Haven. Automobile travel followed and flourished, development growth slowed in the Polkton area yet agriculture continued to flourish. As automobile traffic continued, Polkton Township saw the construction of its section of I-96 Expressway in 1957. Some of the early settlements in Polkton Township that are remembered are Dennison—located near Cleveland and 88th, 3 miles west of Coopersville and Hardscrabble—located on 76th Ave between Garfield and Hayes, 3 miles southwest of Coopersville, and 2 miles northwest of Eastmanville.
While development and growth are all around Polkton Township and there are some industry and small businesses, agriculture remains the primary business and is a vital part of Polkton Township. There are Ottawa County Parks along the Grand River with boat ramps for access, as its beauty continues to draw visitors. The Township is currently working on the development of Sheridan Park which is adjacent to the City of Coopersville and along Deer Creek.