Three Oaks, Michigan: Wikis


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Three Oaks, Michigan
—  Village  —
Location of Three Oaks, Michigan
Coordinates: 41°48′1″N 86°36′35″W / 41.80028°N 86.60972°W / 41.80028; -86.60972
Country United States
State Michigan
County Berrien
 - Total 1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)
 - Land 1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)
 - Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 692 ft (211 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 1,829
 Density 1,861.4/sq mi (718.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49128
Area code(s) 269
FIPS code 26-79720[1]
GNIS feature ID 1614822[2]

Three Oaks is a village in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,829 at the 2000 census. The village is located within Three Oaks Township.



Three Oaks is located in the southwest corner of Michigan, between Niles and New Buffalo. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.0 square miles (2.5 km²), all land.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 1,829 people, 741 households, and 486 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,861.4 per square mile (720.6/km²). There were 800 housing units at an average density of 814.2/sq mi (315.2/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 96.34% White, 0.93% African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.66% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.86% of the population.

There were 741 households out of which 34.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.3% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.05.

In the village the population was spread out with 27.4% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 12.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 96.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.

The median income for a household in the village was $34,120, and the median income for a family was $41,146. Males had a median income of $31,923 versus $20,875 for females. The per capita income for the village was $16,361. About 8.5% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.3% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over.



Three Oaks is one of the few villages in the country with the official position of Village Poet Laureate. Amy Mitchell held the first honor in 2003, gracing special events in Three Oaks with her original poetry. Richard Tuttle served as Poet Laureate in 2007 and the reigning poet laureate for both 2008 and 2009 is Elise Paschen. Three Oaks Poet Laureates are asked to write a Flag Day Poem and a winter poem. Readings occur throughout the year at various locations.

  • Music In the Park is an free concert series every Saturday of summer, held at 7pm in Dewey Cannon Park, downtown Three Oaks.
  • Radio Harbor Country is a low-power FM community radio station (WRHC-LP, 106.7FM) located in Three Oaks that broadcasts a wide variety of local programming and a sophisticated blend of music of various genres.


The village of Three Oaks is located in the southwest corner of Michigan, just 5 miles from the shores of Lake Michigan and within 2 miles of the Indiana border. The village was first settled by Henry Chamberlain in 1850 and became a village in 1867. The village was originally called Chamberlain's Siding but was changed to Three Oaks. These oak trees were a guidepoint for train engineers. None of the original three oak trees remain today; the last was cut down nearly a 100 years ago.

Three Oaks' hometown pride is evident during its Flag Day Celebration in June. The celebration and Flag Day Parade is the largest in the country.

Three Oaks celebrated the centennial of receiving the Dewey Cannon at the village's Flag Day Festival (June 9 - 11, 2000). This cannon, captured in the Spanish-American War by Admiral Dewey, was presented to Three Oaks when its citizens raised $1,400 for a memorial to the men of the battleship Maine. This was the largest contribution, per capita, of any community in the nation. "Three Oaks Against the World", a local paper proudly boasted. This park was dedicated October 17, 1899, by President William McKinley and others. Presentation of the cannon took place on June 28, 1900. Guest of honor was Helen Miller Gould, called the Spanish-American War's "Florence Nightingale".

The Christmas movie Prancer, released in 1989, was filmed on location largely in the village of Three Oaks (other locations in nearby LaPorte, Indiana were also used). You will hear "Three Oaks" mentioned throughout the movie. And a sequel, Prancer Returns, was made in 2001, (filming location Uxbridge, Ontario), in which a boy comes to Three Oaks to learn about the "Prancer incident".

Three Oaks is also home to the Warren Featherbone Factory, which was built over a century ago to strip turkey feathers of their quills to use in women's garments of the era, such as corsets, which used "stiffeners". This replacement for the "whalebone" material was welcomed by the garment industry of the late 19th century. The factory still stands today and is the site of an antique market.

The town faced bankruptcy in the fall of 2008 due to fiscal mismangement and the State of Michigan took over financial management of the village (Chicago Tribune, December 14, 2008). One year later, the town regained local control of its finances (Gongwer News, December 7, 2009).


  • Apple Cider Century is a is an annual one-day, 25, 50, 62, 75 or 100 mile bicycle tour of the orchards, forests and wine country in and around Three Oaks, Michigan. Usually held on the last day of September since 1974, it has become the Midwest's largest one-day century sponsored by the Three Oaks Spokes Bicycle Club.


External links

Coordinates: 41°47′55″N 86°36′38″W / 41.79861°N 86.61056°W / 41.79861; -86.61056

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