Introduction to Dowagiac, Michigan

Dowagiac, Michigan, in Cass county, is 22 miles N of Elkhart, Indiana (center to center) and 79 miles E of Chicago, Illinois.

Dowagiac History

The Chippewa, Potawatomi, and Ottawa tribes of Native Americans, who are considered to be the first settlers in the region, named the place "Dowagiac" after an Indian term meaning "foraging ground." Rail lines and stagecoaches arrived in the mid 1800s and the area was platted as the City of Dowagiac in 1848. The first school was established in the same year. Round Oak Stove Company was founded by Philo Beckwith in 1859, which was also when the Judd Lumber Company was established. This lumber company is currently the oldest lumber company in Michigan.

Dowagiac and Nearby Attractions

  • Heddon Museum
  • Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site
  • Southwestern Michigan College Museum
  • Kaukakee State Fish and Wildlife Area
  • James E. Heddon Park
  • Black Pine Animal Park

Things To Do In Dowagiac

The Southwestern Michigan College Museum, located in the city of Dowagiac, houses artifacts and memorabilia from the early days of the community. The Elkhart County Historical Museum, the Fort Saint Joseph Museum, the Snite Museum of Art, and the Curious Kids' Museum are also close by. James E. Heddon Park, Water Tower Park, Optimist Park, Rotary Park, and Northwest Park are popular parks in the area. The Rudolphi Wildlife Refuge & Rudolphi Woods feature nature trails and hiking trails. Visitors can also enjoy cross country skiing here. The Historic Walking Tour across Dowagiac traverses places of historical interest around the city, including the Historic Train Depot, Judd Lumber Company, Beckwith Park, Caruso's Candy Kitchen, St Paul's Episcopal Church, and the Gardner Mansion. The city also hosts the Dogwood Fine Arts Festival in May every year.

Dowagiac Transportation

Air transportation is available from the South Bend Regional Airport.

Dowagiac Higher Education

Southwestern Michigan College is located in the city of Dowagiac. The University of Notre Dame, Indiana University, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College are also close by.


Total Population 5,866
Male Share of the Population 49.5%
Female Share of the Population 50.5%
Senior Citizens 11.6%
Employed Population 16+ 1,960
Age of the Population 31


% of people married 36.7%
Average household size 3

Education and Earnings

Population % with Bachelor Degree or Higher 9.5%
Median Earnings25+ $0
Median Earnings Without High School Qualification $0
Median Earnings With High School Degree $0


Median Family Income $32,875
% Above Poverty Level 58.1%
% Below Poverty Level 41.9%

Commute & Sprawl

Average Commute Time 18 minutes
% Working from Home 1.9%
% Walking and Biking to Work 1.3%
% Using Public Transportation %


People Living Alone 34.5%
Median Gross Rent $576
Median House Value $67,000


Other(often includes Hispanic and African American) 40.1%
US/American 0%
English 6.4%
Irish 9.5%

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Dowagiac Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 22 miles N of Elkhart, Indiana (center to center)
Nearest Large City 79 miles E of Chicago, Illinois
County Cass
Standard Zip Codes 49047
Phone Area Codes 269
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 41.984
Longitude -86.108

Dowagiac Climate

Nearest Weather Stations


  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)

Station DOWAGIAC 1 W
Distance 1.3 miles
Jan Temp 14 to 31 F
Apr Temp 36 to 58 F
Jul Temp 60 to 83 F
Oct Temp 39 to 62 F
Annual Precip 40 inches
Distance 7.6 miles
Jan Temp 17 to 31 F
Apr Temp 38 to 59 F
Jul Temp 63 to 84 F
Oct Temp 44 to 62 F
Annual Precip 36.5 inches
Distance 24.7 miles
Jan Temp 13 to 30 F
Apr Temp 34 to 58 F
Jul Temp 59 to 83 F
Oct Temp 38 to 62 F
Annual Precip 37 inches

Nearby Cities and Towns

Location Population Median Family Income
Berrien Springs 1,318 $46,094
Cassopolis 1,901 $38,611
Decatur 2,063 $38,333
Eau Claire 602 $39,643
Niles 11,450 $42,964
Vandalia 406 $39,583

Source: American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau, 2015, www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/.

Dowagiac Public Libraries

Dowagiac Public Library
Dowagiac, Michigan
(616) 782-3826

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More Information for Librarians

Dowagiac Hospitals

(Voluntary non-profit - Church)
(269) 782-8681
Emergency Service: Yes

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Dowagiac High Schools

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Serves 749 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 17.2

A Non-traditional School
Serves 84 students.

Dowagiac Colleges

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Dowagiac Colleges
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