Origin of Fowler

In 1867, a railway station named Dallas, a hotel, post office and a few other buildings were moved about 7/10 of a mile west of their location to property owned by John N. Fowler.  Mr. Fowler plotted the village on the north side of the Grand Trunk Railway and named it Isabella.  One of the relocated buildings was known as the Fowler House and, to the liking of the people who lived in the area, the name of the village was changed to Fowler.  The plot of the village of Fowler was recorded on February 1, 1870.

Around 1901, the Opera House was built by Corwin Sturgis on First Street and Main Street.  The upper level was used for dances, school plays and commencement ceremonies, while the lower level was used as a hardware store.  This building currently holds Becker Furniture.

A building located on Main Street, currently Miller's Tavern and Snack Shop, was once owned by Conrad Feldpausch.  This is where Feldpausch Food stores got their start.

The Fowler Village Hall, which was remodeled in 1998, is housed in the former movie theatre building.  The building was built around 1948 and was only open a short time.

In regards to the railroad, local passenger service was discontinued in 1950.  In 1969 the fast through passenger system was phased out.  In 1972, the depot was sold and moved to North Hinman Road and converted into a family residence by Mr. & Mrs. Ron Feldpausch.  In the early 1990's the last freight cars went through the Fowler lines and in 1995, the railroad tracks were removed.  Shortly after the removal of the tracks, a clock donated to the Village of Fowler by the Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts was placed in the center of Main Street near the prior location of the tracks.

Fowler's first public schools opened in 1870.  One of the first Churches, Methodist Episcopal Church organized in about 1860.  The first gas station came to Fowler in 1913.  There was a fire department as early as the 1890's.  The first newspaper, Fowler Post, was established in 1937.

Some of the natural disasters that hit Fowler include a flood in 1905, the worst storm to date in Clinton County history that dropped 8-12 inches of rain.  Another flood hit on July 11, 1957.  Heavy rains--more than any available gauges could measure flooded the village south of the Grand Trunk Railway to an average depth of about 2 feet.  April 27, 1967, a tornado hit causing a number of minor injuries and inflicting property damages that ran into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  On March 2, 1976, a pre-spring rain turned into the worst ice storm our area had seen in years.  On September 30, 1981, another flood hit Fowler.  Unofficial readings by the National Weather Service in Lansing indicated that five and one half inches of rain fell southwest of Fowler and some places had a much as eight inches fall.  The storm claimed the life of one Fowler resident.

April 25, 1937, Clement A. Sohn, a Fowler farm boy known here and throughout Europe as the Batwing Jumper was killed over France when he plunged to his death due to a parachute that failed to open.  Mr. Sohn had 175 jumps to his credit.  Clem was buried in Most Holy Trinity Cemetery on May 12th and planes piloted by his comrades circled above the cemetery and dropped flowers over his grave.

In 1990, 159 acres on the north end of Fowler were purchased by Community Developers and Country Pines Subdivision was started.  At present, there are 48 homes in Country Pines Subdivision.  Theis Acres, a subdivision on West Second Street began in the mid 1990's.

In 1994, a Main Street improvement project was started.  Decorative sidewalks, new street lights, "Welcome to Fowler" banners, and new pavement were some of the improvements.  Also in 1994, a new Village of Fowler Department of Public Works building was built on North Drive.

In 1998, a bond for new construction for Fowler Public Schools was passed.  As part of the construction project, rented property that previously housed Spicer Field was sold by the Village of Fowler to the Fowler High School for one dollar.

In 2000, a census was conducted.  The last census, in 1990, was conducted poorly by the United States Census Bureau and several residents were not counted.  Village Council members worked closely with the United States Census Bureau on the 2000 Census to make sure that everyone was counted.  At present, the population of Fowler is estimated between 1000 and 1100.

Submitted by:  Rhonda Feldpausch, Village Clerk
With help from:  Lisa Simon