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Three Oaks is a village located in Berrien County in the extreme southwest corner of Michigan, just minutes from the Lake Michigan shoreline and near the Indiana border. It’s situated in Michigan’s beautiful “Harbor Country,” which also includes the towns of Lakeside, Michiana, Grand Beach, New Buffalo, Union Pier, Harbert and Sawyer. Aside from the beaches along Lake Michigan, the area includes 306 inland lakes and rivers, vineyards and many unique farm markets abound in the region, as well. It has, thus, become one of Michigan’s most popular tourist destinations. As of the 2000 census, the village of Three Oaks had a population of 1,829 residents. Three Oaks has become quite well known as a unique cultural center with its fine arts movie theater, a new live performance theater that features a lot of talent from Chicago and many artists’ studios and galleries. In the summertime, Shakespeare and music concerts are performed around the gazebo in the park. Three Oaks is also host to an annual blues Fest and several other special events throughout the year.

The history of Three Oaks began in 1850 when a man named Henry Chamberlain first settled the town. Mr. Chamberlain gave the town its name in reference to three massive oak trees that grow in a cluster within the village. Three Oaks became known for being home to the Warren Featherbone Factory, which still stands today. This factory made “stiffeners” from turkey feather quills for use in women’s’ garments of the late 19th century, such as corsets. This replacement for the “whalebone” material previous used in such items was greatly welcomed by the garment industry. Later, Three Oaks was linked to the rest of the villages of Harbor Country by the Central Michigan Railroad that passed through the town. As the need for garment stiffeners became less of a demand, agriculture and local commerce became the village’s main source of income – and later tourism contributed greatly to the local economy, which continues to be true today. In 1989, the Christmas movie “Prancer” was released, which was filmed on location in the village of Three Oaks.

As part of Harbor Country, Three Oaks, Michigan has much to offer visitors. There are the miles and miles of pristine Lake Michigan beaches and majestic dunes, rolling hills and vineyards and lush woodlands. The area is filled with “u-pick” farms and farmstands and picturesque country cider mills. Warren Dunes State Park is nearby and features a large beach area and sand dunes, camping and hiking trails. Other area activities include swimming, canoeing and kayaking, fishing and boating, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Antique shops and handcrafted items are found in the small towns of the region and Harbor Country has always been a haven for artists, whose work is found in gallery exhibitions throughout the area. As one of the eight quaint little towns of the Harbor Country area, Three Oaks has become a favorite destination of many travelers. It offers a quiet, simple lifestyle that often seems frozen in time.


 

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