Crystal Farms Equestrian Center – Marshall, MI

Local Information

Below you will find a brief history of Marshall, as well as links to hotels, restaurants and attractions in town and nearby.

A History of Marshall, Michigan

Marshall is one of the most beautiful cities in Michigan. It is also a storehouse of 19th century architecture that has given it status as a National Historic Landmark District. The National Park Service and the U.S. Department of the Interior announced this designation July 17, 1991.

The district includes over 850 homes and businesses. It is the country’s largest district in the “small urban” category, having surpassed Cape May, New Jersey and Port Townsend Washington. One National Park Service manager calls Marshall “a text book of 19th century American small town architecture”.

Established in 1830, the early settlers expected the community to become Michigan’s state capitol. Thus it drew dozens of doctors, lawyers, ministers, business people and land speculators. Town founder Sidney and George Ketchum named the community for Chief Justice John Marshall of Virginia, whom they greatly admired. This occurred five years before Marshall’s death and thus was the first of dozens of communities named after him. Marshall was nominated as the state capitol in 1839 but lost to Lansing, then a village of eight registered voters in 1847. However, at this point Marshall had become the switching center for the young Michigan Central Railroad, which kept it booming and growing during the Civil War era.

In 1872 the rail yards were moved to Jackson and Marshall seemed to slumber. However in Marshall barns, lofts and business blocks a new industry was growing. Marshall was becoming the Midwest’s patent medicine center and the place to get “pink pills for pale people.” Then the Pure Food and Drug Act came along in 1906 and effectively killed off most of the patent medicine products. The town continued to slumber and only two new streets were platted from 1872 to 1920.

During the 19th century, the small city was touched lightly by U.S. history in three areas: education, abolition and unionism.

Initially two Marshall citizens, Rev. John D. Pierce and attorney Isaac E. Crary, innovated the Michigan School system and established it as part of the state constitution. Their method and format were later adopted by all the states in the Old Northwest Territory and became the foundation for the U.S. Land Grant Act in 1861, which established schools, like Michigan State University, all over the country. Pierce became the country’s first state superintendent of public instruction and Crary was Michigan’s first member of the U.S. House.

Secondly, Marshall was a station on the Underground Railroad and a strong anti-slavery town. In 1846 Kentucky slave chasers tried to capture escaped slave Adam Crosswhite and his family in Marshall. Leading citizens, in turn, arrested the Kentuckians and smuggled the Crosswhite family into Canada. The rescuers were convicted of “depriving a man of his rightful property” in Detroit Federal court in 1847. They paid fines, which they considered a badge of honor. The Crosswhite incident is mentioned on several of the historical markers in town. A few years ago the Marshall Historical Society marked Crosswhite’s grave (he had returned to Marshall after the Civil War) where he rests a few hundred feet from several of his rescuers.

The third touch of U.S. history was the founding of a union called the Brotherhood of the Footboard in 1863. A few months later the members realized that most people didn’t know what a footboard was, so they changed the name of the union to the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, still one of the country’s strongest railroad unions.

Moving into the 20th century, Marshall has been home to people who understand the importance of preservation and restoration long before it was popular. This has allowed Marshall to move with the future while maintaining its wonderful past.

Today Marshall is a growing city again–with new homes, apartments and condominiums being developed on its outskirts. New industry and distribution centers are developing in its industrial park and the city enjoys the popularity of its appeal as an escape into the past!



Hampton Inn

17256 Sam Hill Dr · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 789-0131 · FAX: (269) 781-6233
Visit the web site

Holiday Inn Express

17252 Sam Hill Dr · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 789-9301 · FAX: (269) 789-9301
Visit the web site




115 S Eagle St · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 781-0600 or (877) 724-8537 (877-SCHULERS)
FAX: (269) 781-4361
Visit the web site


1205 W Michigan Ave · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 781-9699 · FAX: (269) 781-9692

Dark Horse Brewery

511 S Kalamazoo Ave · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 781-9940
Visit the web site

Cornwell’s Turkeyville, USA

18935 15 1/2 Mile Rd · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 781-4293/ (800) 228-4315 · FAX: (269) 781-1209
Visit the web site

Biggby Coffee

1110 W Michigan Ave · Marshall, MI 49068
Phone: (269) 781-4806 · FAX: (269) 781-4837
Visit the web site



Firekeepers Casino (web site)

Cornwell’s Turkeyville, USA (web site)

American Museum of Magic (web site)

Honolulu House Museum (web site)


Book your riding lesson today!
(269) 317-3910