Hastings was incorporated as a City on March 11th, 1871. The first election was held on April 3rd, 1871. Henry A. Goodyear was the first elected Mayor of the City of Hastings.
While they weren’t aiming to develop one of the “100 Best Small Towns,” they were determined to make the city a viable business base and a pleasant living environment. It started in 1836 when three gentlemen named Dibble, Kingsbury, and Kendall purchased the 480-acre town-site from Detroit banker Eurotas P. Hastings for $3,000. They platted the land into streets and lots and offered inducements to attract settlers. Water powered gristmills and sawmills were constructed along Fall Creek. The State legislature designated Hastings as the County Seat of Barry County in 1843. By 1848, there was enough of a population to warrant stagecoach service connecting the new town with Grand Rapids and Battle Creek.
A local Democratic journal, the Barry County Pioneer, was first printed in 1851. Hastings, with an approximate population of 300, was incorporated as a village in 1855. The new village boasted a two-story schoolhouse serving eighty families, a county building, and a jail.
Like the rest of the nation, Hastings and Barry County saw most of its able-bodied men off to the battles of the Civil War. A total of 1,632 men from a county population of 15,000 served between 1861 and 1865. A 100-ton monument to them, topped by the figure of a Union soldier, now stands at the entrance to Tyden Park.
The first railroad train chuffed into town in 1869. Although rail service ended in the 1970’s, the old train station still stands and currently serves as an office building.
March 11, 1871, Hastings officially become a city. The impressive Barry County Courthouse, which dominates the downtown, and its annex, were built in 1893 It is one of only a handful of Michigan’s 19th century public buildings still serving their original purposes. The city grew slowly and carefully. New school buildings went up in 1916. As air travel became commonplace, a city airport was constructed and operational by 1947.
The Master Plan for the city proclaims “We treasure the old, progress with the new.”