Van Buren Township

The Belleville Area Museum (BAM) Brief History

In 1875, after official business of Van Buren Township (VBT) had been conducted for forty years in private homes, stores, and rented quarters, the voters of the Township decided to erect a one-story brick town hall.  Residents appropriated $1,500 for the project, and Robert Patterson Clark, William Crawford, and Thomas Quirk were appointed to oversee the construction of Van Buren Township Hall on Main Street. 

After work had started, the Belleville Grange (Union) No. 331 requested permission to add a second story onto the building to provide a meeting place for their activities.  The voters approved this measure as well; the grange donated all of the materials. 

In 1905, the village of Belleville was incorporated and the township hall was no longer located in Van Buren Township.   The building served as a municipal facility until 1959 when new offices were constructed on Tyler Road within the township boundaries.

The Old Township Hall has served numerous functions.  Here, community residents held town meetings, voted, got their driver’s licenses, paid their taxes, and checked out their library books.  The hall has been the site of many dances, concerts, showers, church services, service club meetings, Red Cross blood drives, served as a jail, and even an Army recruiting station. 

Following the move of township offices to Tyler Road, the building was used for several commercial purposes, including a Rotary Club Haunted House, Oxbow Realty, the Belleville Enterprise, Adventure Travel, and the Belleville Area Chamber of Commerce. 

After undergoing a major renovation in 1995, the Belleville Area Museum and Historical Society moved in in 1996.  In 2020, we celebrated the 145th anniversary of this historic Greek revival public building.  Similar to 1995, the museum has gone through a new makeover in 2019 and 2021.      

We love that our seasonal events have become community and family traditions. 

Museum admission is FREE with a suggested $5 donation.

Still owned by Van Buren Township, The Old Township Hall is on the State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites.

Taken in part from “Water Under the Bridge: A History of Van Buren Township” By Cathy S. Horste and Diane F. Wilson.  1977, 1980, 2007