Sebewaing Michigan History
Uncover the history of Sebewaing
Learn about the history of Sebewaing and the local color of the area.
Before the first settlers from the old world arrived, Sebewaing was inhabited by the Chippewa tribe and the the word sebewaing which gives the town its name means "little crooked river" in the native language. An apt description of the Sebewaing river that runs through town. The town of Sebewaing as we know it today was founded by Lutheran missionaries to the area in 1845. By 1849 the mission was built and Rev. Johann J. F. Auchs, Rev. J. Simon Dumser and Rev. George Sinkeh were preaching to the Native American population. As of 1854 the indigenous population had moved elsewhere.
1865 was a big moment for the Sebewaing area with the arrival of John Liken who would shape the future of the town to this day. Taking advantage of the timber available in the area Mr. Liken set up the first sawmill in town and his interests eventually spread to offering all of the needs for local residents through retail outlets, a creamery, granaries, and ships. By 1880 the E.O. Braendle Brewery which would become the famous Sebewaing Brewery was in operation which burned down in 1893.
By 1884 the idea of growing sugar beets was introduced to John Liken introduced the sugar beet to area farmers and through a number of investors built the first sugar beet processing facility in Sebewaing. The Thumb and Bay City areas were experiencing a sort of sugar boom at the time and adding the processing facility to Sebewaing, Mr. Liken ensured the towns long term stability. Where so many other villages had disappeared with the demise of the timber industry in the area, Sebewaing would thrive.
During the early through mid 20th century the brewery also had a strong influence on the identity of Sebewaing. The brewery had gone through a number of name changes and prohibition continually adapting to the changing climate and continued to be a main source of employment in the area outside of farming. The Sebewaing Brewery was in operation until June of 1966 and the brewery building was at least partial torn down in the 1980s.
Today the sugar beets are the still king in addition to outdoor recreation. You can experience Sebewaing history for yourself at the Old Town Hall, Luckhard Museum and Old Indian Mission which all feature artifacts and detailed information about Sebewaing's history.
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