The village of New Groningen, which prospered in this area from 1855 to 1865, was the second colony established by a group of Dutch immigrants led by Jan Rabbers. The first settlement, Groningen, was located about one mile southwest of here until 1856 when the road between Holland and Zeeland (present-day Paw Paw Drive) bypassed the community. Unlike the Dutch farming communities of Graafshap, Drenthe and Overisel, founded in 1847 and 1848, Groningen developed as an industrial town. Around 1847, Jan Rabbers built a log house and store on land now occupied by the New Gronigen Cemetery. He erected a sawmill nearby. Other ventures followed. The Veneklasen brickyard, opened in 1851, is the most enduring industry. Many Veneklasen brick buildings stand today.