Fremont is a city in Newaygo County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 4,081 at the 2010 census.
The first inhabitants of the Fremont area were native Americans. A group of settlers led by Daniel Weaver first settled in the area in 1855. The Weaver homestead served as the first post office and public school in the area. Shortly after the arrival of this group, in November 1855, Fremont Township was established and named in honor of John C. Fremont, western explorer and Republican Party candidate for United States President. Weaver and his fellow settlers cleared the dense timber from the area in order to farm. Early in the 1870s, Dutch immigrant families began moving to the Fremont area from Holland and Muskegon. As a result, Fremont continues to recognize some of its early Dutch heritage in local festivals and pageants.
Due to the rich stands of virgin timber in the area, lumbering soon became a major industry in the town. To facilitate this emerging local industry, a railroad spur was completed, linking Fremont to the national railroad network. The growth of the lumbering industry was slowed in the 1860s by the American Civil War. In 1871, Fremont experienced a major forest fire with extensive damage to the area, especially the lumber mills, but the area was able to rebuild and even supplied some of the lumber that helped to rebuild Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1876.
Also in the mid 1870s the Gerber family had moved to Fremont and established a cannery, which became a major industry. In the 1890s, the lumbering industry, the source of a major raw material for canning, ran out of trees and the Gerber family turned to processing area farm produce and formed the Fremont Canning Company. In 1928 the Gerber canning plant started to manufacture baby foods. The Fremont Canning Company soon became Gerber Products Company and Fremont became the home of the world's best known baby food. Gerber now controls over 80% of the U.S. baby food market. The Gerber Fremont plant produces baby food for over 20 foreign countries.
Fremont was also central to the plot of the 1966 Eurospy spy film, Secret Agent Super Dragon which was later featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K).
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,224 people, 1,788 households, and 1,140 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,268.3 per square mile (489.8/km ). There were 1,943 housing units at an average density of 583.4 per square mile (225.3/km ). The racial makeup of the city was 96.59% White, 0.38% African American, 0.50% Native American, 0.99% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.47% from other races, and 1.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.96% of the population.
There were 1,788 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.2% were non-families. 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 25.2% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,246, and the median income for a family was $42,578. Males had a median income of $37,872 versus $23,203 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,475. About 8.8% of families and 12.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.0% of those under age 18 and 7.5% of those age 65 or over.
The annual Baby Food Festival takes place in July.
- Gerber Products Company is located in Fremont. The Gerber Products Company was originally started as the Fremont Canning Company.
Notable people from Fremont
- Bert Zagers, former running back and defensive back for the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.
- Joe Berger, current center for the Miami Dolphins of the National Football League.
- Frank Daniel Gerber, founder of the Fremont Canning Company, and later the Gerber Products Company.
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