VanderWall presents Evart with plaque for sesquicentennial

'It is an honor to be here to celebrate 150 years,' VanderWall says

EVART — The city of Evart celebrated its sesquicentennial throughout the month of July with a host of events, including a scavenger hunt, a 5K run, cornhole and fireworks, and many others.

Recently, Sen. Curt VanderWall, who has represented the area in the Senate since 2018, presented the city with a state tribute in honor of its 150 years.

“It is an honor when you get a phone call and hear that we have an area that is celebrating its 150th year,” VanderWall told those in attendance. “We have several communities that were established in the same time frame and are celebrating 150 years. We decided a state tribute would be a really cool thing.”

He said he thought it was interesting that, according to the city’s history, the first settlers in what is now called Evart traveled there in a canoe and established the community.

According to the city’s website, Delos Blodgett and James Stimson were the first two settlers in the territory, arriving around 1850. Blodgett and another pioneer, James Kennedy, selected the village site.

The town was officially platted in 1871, though the year is commonly believed to be 1872, due to Evart celebrating their centennial year in 1972.

Lumber was the main industry at the time, and all of Osceola County became known as the “land of the green gold.” Evart was a strategic point for sorting timber that was floated down the Muskegon River.

“Lumber was a big push, and, out of all my history with all my towns, I had never heard it (the area) referred to as the land of the green gold,” VanderWall said. 

In presenting the tribute plaque to the city council, VanderWall read, “For the 150 years of what Evart has meant to Osceola County, what Evart has meant to the state of Michigan, we are excited to present this tribute to you today.”

“It has been an honor to represent you,” he continued. “It is very disappointing that I will lose the community with the redistricting. This whole part of the state has been like home to me. We have grown like a family, and Evart has been a big part of that. It has been an honor to be involved with great legislation and to see this community grow and thrive like you have. It is an honor to be here to celebrate 150 years, and I appreciate the opportunity to represent you.”