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Local History & Genealogy

Local History and Genealogy

Paradise Township has a small collection of historical records including Township Records dating back to the 1880s, Evergreen Cemetery Burial Records, and some birth and death records dating from the 1880s to 1951. Please contact the Township via e-mail at or phone at (231) 263-5251 to submit any requests for information. Please provide as much information as possible when requesting information on a specific individual. Thank you!

"A History of Kingsley" - Compiled by the Kingsley High School Sophomore English Class of 1958-1959.

Local History Collection - Traverse Area District Library

Genealogical Research - Grand Traverse Area Genealogical Society

A Little Bit About Paradise Township...

Thank you so much for your interest in Paradise Township!

Paradise Township is a local unit of government that was created by a vote of the Board of Supervisors in April 1867. Paradise Township is a subdivision of Grand Traverse County. Most townships are approximately 36 miles square and contain 36 sections. However, our township is special because it is 54 miles square and contains 54 sections.

In the early years Paradise Township had four villages – the Village of Kingsley, the Village of Paradise, Mayfield, and Summit. In the year 1893 the Village of Kingsley and the Village of Paradise were joined, recorded and incorporated as the Village of Kingsley. Presently, Kingsley is the only incorporated village in Paradise Township.

Paradise Township is mostly rural. It is comprised of farmland, forests, and state land. Any commercial and industrial land is centered in or around the Village of Kingsley and the unincorporated Village of Mayfield. We have many small businesses run by local residents. 

Outdoor and recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, boating and camping are very popular with residents and visitors to our area. It is also a source of income. Paradise Township oversees one park. Mayfield Pond Park is located at the old site of the Gibbs Brothers Big Red Lumber Mill in the unincorporated Village of Mayfield.  At one time it was also the home of a shingle mill, and an electric power plant.  Paradise Township began the process of forming a public park on this site in 1984 when the Township received land donations from Mr. & Mrs. Lester Biederman and the Rotary Charities. Today, the Park spans 57.12 acres which also abuts State Forest land. Mayfield Pond Park offers a shelter pavilion with a fireplace, restrooms, and picnic area for family gatherings. There is a minimally equipped playground, a boardwalk, an overlook, and an area for fishing. Nothing can beat the views of the blossoms along the scenic and historical trail in the spring and the fall colors from the overlook. The Pond has many natural and historical tales to tell. It has been visited by many famous trout fishermen. In fact, the Adams Fly for Fly Fishing was invented at Mayfield Pond. Mayfield Pond Park was a beneficiary of a grant received by the Grand Traverse Conservation District. These funds were used to purchase over 100 trees and bushes that were used to stabilize the bank and provide shade to the pond in order to enhance water quality and the trout habitat. Mayfield Pond Park has a rich history. There are pamphlets available at the park that shows all the points of interest along the historic and scenic trail. It is a place of peacefulness and tranquility.

Paradise Township is one of the fastest-growing areas in Michigan.


The following dates illustrate the historical population of ParadiseTownship:

Year                 1960                1970                1980                1990                2000                2005**

Township         1,375               1,434               2,117               2,455               4,191               4,730

Village                586                  632                  664                  738                    1,469               1,524

*Township totals include the Village of Kingsley

**2005 U.S. Census estimate

Please note that while Paradise Township increased 76% between 1990 and 2000, Kingsley Village increased by 99.1%.  This is a significant increase in population and reflects a trend in the development of low-density residential uses throughout the Township in the rural areas.


The primary source of income for Township residents is wages and salaries earned in employment in the Traverse City area. Other sources of employment in the Township are building trades, agriculture, forestry, Kingsley School District, and public/service employment within the Village, Township, County, and the State of Michigan.


The Unincorporated Village of Mayfield has a U.S. Post Office, and convenience commercial establishments, as well as several residences and a church. Several recreational elements utilize this small community.  The cross-Michigan riding and hiking trail, the DNR scenic drive, and the Mayfield historic mill site are all part of Mayfield.  The Mayfield Historic Mill Site is situated on 18.33 acres, which was donated to the Township of Paradise in 1984 by Lester and Anne Biederman.  This property (known as the Mayfield Pond property) is the site of Mayfield Pond Park.  In addition, the Forest Lakes resort area uses the post office and commercial businesses.  In addition to the original 18.33 acres, Rotary Charities donated 32.8 acres to the Mayfield Pond Park in 2001.  This land is currently being considered for walking trails, which would tie in with existing trails at the park.


The Unincorporated Village of Summit City was platted around 1884. Due to the location of the railroad in this area became a residential hub with a few processing facilities such as potato processing. This area is also home to the Grange Hall.The National Grange is the nation's oldest national agricultural organization, with grassroots units established in 2,700 local communities in 40 states. Its 200,000 members provide service to agriculture and rural areas on a wide variety of issues, including economic development, education, family endeavors, and legislation designed to assure a strong and viable Rural America. It was formed in the years following the American Civil War to unite private citizens in improving the economic and social position of the nation's farm population. Over the past 143 years, it has evolved to include non-farm rural families and communities.


Public education is provided by Kingsley Area Schools. Programs are offered for pre-school through Grade Twelve. Facilities are located in the Village of Kingsley. Kingsley presently serves approximately 1500 students* Kindergarten – Twelfth grade. *Fourth Friday Enrollment of 2010

The District includes all of Paradise Township, and parts of Fife Lake, Union, Mayfield, Blair, Green Lake, Greenwood, and Grant Townships. The District consists of a service area of 170 square miles.

Kingsley is a rapidly growing district as the population of Grand Traverse County expands to the south. Enrollment is at an all-time high, and an increasing student population stands as one of the greatest challenges for the district to meet in the future years. Due to the high enrollment, a new High School was built in the southeast sector of the Village and opened in September 2001.

Private Schools:

St. Mary’s of Hannah, a parochial school, enrolls approximately 80 students in pre-school through 8th grade. The Head Start program serves around 30 students. The school is located approximately 5 miles west of Kingsley on M-113. 

College Education:

Further education and training beyond high school are available in Traverse City at the Career Tech Center, Northwestern Michigan College, MSU Extension Services, and the University Center Boardman Campus.