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|Olivet, located in the southwestern corner of Eaton County, is best known as the home of Olivet College, begun in 1844 by the Reverend John Shipperd, a Congregationalist minister who previously organized Oberlin College in Ohio. This was one of the first colleges in Michigan that admitted women and blacks, part of the anti-slavery movement which the denomination supported. Shipperd came here to begin another Congregationalist community in Michigan, naming the town after Mount Olivet of the Bible. The formation of the town was the result of the beginning of the College, with student Albertus L. Green running the post office until Prof. O. Hosford was officially appointed to the position by the government. It was incorporated as a village in 1865 and later as a city in 1958.|
Olivet today retains its traditional, small-town atmosphere, with the College as economic center of activity. The city is also supported by small businesses and some local industry, including hydraulic parts manufacturing. The downtown area has retained much of its turn-of-the-century architecture, and includes two adjacent parks.
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