Join the Niles History Center for these upcoming programs and events! 

Niles History - Fall Program Series 
The Niles History Center and Niles District Library are teaming up for a special fall program series!
All programs start at 6:30pm at the Niles District Library. 
Admission is free but donations are welcome! 

  • Thursday, October 19: Gangster Fred "Killer" Burke, the Most Dangerous Man in 1929, by Chriss Lyon 
  • Thursday, November 16: The War to End All Wars: A Centennial Perspective of World War I, by Jeff W. Dennis 

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 activities !

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.

October 21, 10:00am - Silverbrook Cemetery Tour 

Join the Niles History Center and Friends of Silverbrook for a special tour of this historic cemetery. This year's tour will focus on people, places and things in the Garden of Memory. 

November 3, 5:30pm - 8:00pm:  "An Evening at Hogwarts" 

Evening at Hogwarts

Join the Niles District Library and the Niles History Center at Hogwarts (the Historic Chapin Mansion) for a magical evening of fun! Get sorted into your Hogwarts house and follow up with wand-making, potions, Quidditch, and some mystery; this is bound to be an enchanted evening! 

November 18: Annual Holiday Open House 

#NilesisBeautiful 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!

Photo Contest

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!  

history program

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