The village of Homer, Michigan, located along M-60 in Calhoun County was established in 1871, but its settlers arrived around 1832. As such, its history dates back to early Michigan pioneers who established “Barneyville”, a town consisting of a saw mill, store, hotel and bank. Although times have changed, Homer’s small town charm remains. This article shares some of Homer’s more famous features.
Prior to 2010, visitors often recognized Homer by the large grist mill along the Kalamazoo River. At various points in time the mill functioned as a dinner theater, a restaurant, and later a haunted house. Unfortunately, in 2010, the Homer Mill experienced a fire, burning the landmark to the ground. The rubble currently stands, but a gazebo at the nearby park remains. Over time the area will be cleared, but Homer residents will always remember the famous mill.
Another well known local feature of Homer is its water tower. Sporting the phrase “Homer is Home”, the tower sends its greeting to residents and visitors alike.
Turning south from M-60 onto M-99, a roundabout circles a central tree and city sign. At Christmas locals decorate the tree with brilliant Christmas lights, and in the summer fresh annuals brighten the scene. Driving 270 degrees around the circle places one on Main Street. Homer’s banners hang at the sides of the road and business windows are painted with current sales.
Homer is a one stop-light village. When reaching the light, visitors should stop for a bite at Cascarelli’s. The family owned restaurant was founded in 1935 and has survived for good reason. The pizza is famous for the area and their hot peanuts are always a treat.
For dessert, locals often make their way to the Dairy Delite – a traditional soft serve ice cream stand turned into a take out dining experience. It even has a drive-thru window! Simply look for the giant American flag waving overhead.
In 2005, Homer, Michigan, became famous for its local baseball team. The Homer Trojans set a national record of 75 consecutive wins over three seasons. The streak was huge for this small town as ESPN and other press interviewed students. The baseball coach was also the middle school principal, and the experience was so unique that a book was written about the controversy surrounding the issue.
All in all, Homer is the epitome of small town America. By no means is it perfect as all communities have their problems, but Homer’s friendly spirit and charm keep people coming back to make Homer their home.
Do you live in a town like Homer? Do you enjoy traveling to small towns like Homer? Please leave a comment below.
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