Join the Niles History Center for these upcoming programs and events! 
September 8, 6:00-8:00pm : A "Black Tie" Affair
Enjoy the music of Ember Jar on the Historic Chapin Mansion lawn!  Attendees are encouraged to wear your own version of "black-tie." Wear something, anything black and you will fit right in! 

Bring your own food, non-alcoholic drinks, tables, blankets, etc.

Admission is $10 for advance sales; $15 at the "door"; 
12 and under free

Proceeds will benefit an exciting new renovation at the Chapin Mansion-learn more at the event!

This special event is rain or shine. We hope to see you there!  Please call the Niles History Center at 269-845-4054 to reserve your spot! 

September 30, 10:00am - 2:00pm: First Annual Civil War Day 

Civil War Day_Join us on September 30 for our first annual Civil War Day! Visitors will interact with several Living History and military impressions. Guests will also have the opportunity to participate in period dancing and other fun acitivities!

Date: September 30, 10:00am-2:00pm 

Cost: Admission is free! 

Location: Niles History Center - 508 E. Main Street Niles, MI 49120

Please call 269-845-4054 for more information.

#NilesisBeautiful Photo Contest 
Photo Contest

The City of Niles is excited to announce a new #NilesisBeautiful photo contest! Photographers of all ages are invited to take part in the contest and capture the true beauty of Niles through four different subject areas: architecture, nature, people and events!

The winners’ pieces will be displayed as part of the #NilesisBeautiful photo exhibit at the new City Arts and History Museum. 

One winner will be announced for each category in every age division: youth (Under 18), adult (Ages 18-59 and senior (Ages 60+). Entries will be accepted digitally. A panel of judges selected by the City of Niles will determine the winners. Judging will be based on technique, content and originality. Each winner will receive gift certificates for use at Niles’ downtown establishments.

The public is encouraged to follow the competition on social media! All entries will be uploaded to the @NilesIsBeautiful official Instagram page. A “People’s Choice” winner will be determined based on the photo with the most “likes.”

The contest is open now through January, 2018.

Entries will be accepted digitally and may be emailed to, along with completed entry packets. For more information, please contact the Niles History Center at 269-845-4054.

Download entry packet here 

Portraits and Profiles: African Americans in Niles
- Now on display at the Greater Niles Senior Center!  

In 2016, the Niles History Center received funding though the Michigan Humanities Council’s Heritage Grant program to explore our community’s African American history. As part of the grant, a banner exhibit was produced as well as a walking tour, curriculum guide and online exhibit. 

Niles served as a hub for African Americans starting in the mid-19th century. Free blacks and those who sought freedom through the Underground Railroad found refuge in Niles. They established neighborhoods, started businesses, built houses, and raised families. Many of their descendants still call Niles home.  

In Niles, the Ferry Street Community included the Ferry Street School (originally the “Colored” School), Mount Calvary Baptist Church (formerly Second Baptist) and the John W. Moore Lodge of Freemasons. The “Dickereel” neighborhood on the northeast edge of Niles was filled with immigrants and African Americans. Black-owned businesses operated throughout downtown. The Niles is featured prominently in the 1915  Michigan Manual of Freedmen’s Progress, published 50 years after abolishment of slavery. Armed with historical knowledge, descendants of  these early African American families gained opportunities during the Civil Rights era. It is time to pass along their knowledge to the next generation.

Niles High School students interviewed senior residents to gather information. Stories were recorded and images were collected to create the banners which were inspired by the remarkable lives of these individuals.