Quaint, little Tustin rich in history

October 3, 2014

The Hoaglund Hardware store, which was started in 1941 and remains a family business.

The Hoaglund Hardware store, which was started in 1941 and remains a family business.

Story & Photos By Jessica Sequin

Tucked away in the shadows of Cadillac, on the headwaters of the Pine River is the small Village of Tustin. The town welcomes you with a beautiful rock bed on the side of the hill reading “Tustin.” People like the town because it is a close knit community, everybody knows everybody. Out of towners come to visit for the small town atmosphere, supplies, and the local lakes.

It may be small but it is filled with huge history. In late 1872 Dr. JP Tustin, a medical missionary was sent to Sweden by the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad to recruit laborers. Dr. Tustin brought back 300 Swedish laborers and settled them in Burdell Township, where the railroad provided them with 40 acres.

William J. Townsend was said to be the first settler and he was appointed first postmaster. The area was incorporated into a village in 1893.The village was originally called New Bleking, but was changed to Tustin to honor Dr. Tustin.

Tustin was one of the greatest shipping centers for potatoes in Michigan. Some of the potato warehouses still stand in the area, one even houses the Pine River Area Museum. Due to the abundance of timber in the area, many logging camps and mills were established. The Swedish settlers harvested many acres of forest.

The village also is home to an excellent fire department and rescue squad, grocery stores that sell fresh meats and produce, a modern bank, a hardware store with a sporting goods department, a grain elevator, a carpet store, a modern post office, a beauty shop, a library, accommodating service stations, a restaurant, a museum, and a sportsman club.

An event that the village is proud of is, Tustin Days. This occurs on Labor Day weekend. They have festivities on Saturday and Sunday. On that Sunday they have CAMS airshow.

There are three churches in the village of Tustin, the Covenant Presbyterian, the Augusta Lutheran, and the First Baptist. The Pine River School District school system provides education to three communities; Tustin, LeRoy, and Luther. The district has approximately 1325 students.
Hoaglund Hardware was started in 1941, and remains a family business. The Library was founded in 1965 and has had three different librarians. The current librarian is Sandie Leach. The restaurant that serves the village is Lisa’s Grille.

In the village there is a small park Little Creek Park, which was named by the 5th grade class of 2001. There is also a senior meal site by the library and fire department. Boomer’s Rendezvous also provides daily activities for senior citizens. The local grocery store, Powell’s Grocery is open 7 days a week.

The 4-H Foundation Training Facilities of Kettenun Center are located on Center Lake about 5 miles East of Tustin. It was opened in 1961 and has 160 acres of forests and wetlands. Activities provided include, summer camps, Elderhostel, 4-H trackers and retreats, and opportunities for schools to attend day long learning lab nature events.

Also located on Center Lake is the Lower Michigan Baptist Conference Camp, also known as Center Lake Bible Camp. This camp was opened in 1956 and is on 120 acres of forest and recreational land. It began with a dining hall, eight cabins, a bathhouse and canteen. Outdoor activity areas were also constructed such as softball fields, volleyball courts and a beach area. Ever since then, the camp has expanded year after year.


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2 Responses to Quaint, little Tustin rich in history

  1. Wanda (Walker) Grisham Reply

    May 19, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    My husband web searched Tustin for me, & I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading about my childhood town.
    Though I seldom get back to Michigan since my parents moved us away back about 1959, I find a peacefulbess each time I do get there.

  2. Morgan Hammar Reply

    March 29, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    My great grandfather was one of the Swedes brought to help build Tustin. Or we were always told that at least.

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