The Antiques Capital of Michigan: Allen, Hillsdale County
One historic thing in Michigan that always intrigues me is US12 – the old stagecoach trail that runs straight through the bottom part of Michigan. It runs from the farthest western point in Berrien County at the Indiana border all the way to Detroit.
I find the little towns along the old trail the most interesting; many of them are former stagecoach stops.
One of these towns along US12 is Allen in Hillsdale County. Allen's population is approximately 100, but it is known as the “Antiques Capital of Michigan.” Allen has so many antique shops, stores, and booths, that, according to US12 Heritage Trail, “if you stopped at each of the booths in every antique mall for just one minute it would take you nearly three days to see them all.”
Allen goes back to 1827, where it was settled by a veteran of the War of 1812, Captain Moses Allen, who also had a hand in surveying the Chicago Road. After arriving, Allen and his family were warmly greeted and welcomed by local native American Chief Baw Beese. They became very good friends and the three – Chief, Moses, and Mrs. Allen – all shared a peace pipe.
In 1830, the community was given a post office and a name: Sylvanus. It closed in 1834, re-opened in 1835. Sylvanus was doing very well, and then in 1868 the village was recorded and platted under a new name – 'Allen', after its first settler.
Currently, Allen welcomes visitors from many states who come here looking for antiques. One of the coolest parts is Preston's Antique Gaslight Village, with a section that contains 20+ old Allen storefronts that go back from 1835-1925!
Allen, Michigan: The Antiques Capital of Michigan