St. Johns is known as "Mint City USA," earning the title after more than a century of mint farming in the area. Companies across the United States have long relied on the mint produced by Clinton County farms for the flavoring of candy, gum, toothpaste and many other products. In August, St. Johns celebrates the annual Mint Festival in downtown with music, entertainment, food, and much more.
St. Johns Area Parks
St. Johns City Park
is the largest recreation area in the community. The park's Fantasy Forest is a favorite with kids, who enjoy the playscape, climbing wall, and playground equipment. Nearby, there are several picnic shelters for gatherings. For outdoor recreation, the park has basketball courts, tennis courts, a disc golf course, and hiking trails. During the winter, an ice pond is available for ice skating and hockey, and a large hill can be used for sledding during daylight hours. The band shell at St. Johns City Park hosts concerts during the summer as part of the Clinton County Arts Council's Concert in the Park Series.
St. Johns Rotary Park
is in downtown on Railroad Street, near the public library. The park has a gazebo, picnic area, and pavilion.
Clinton County Veterans Memorial
is located west of St. Johns Rotary Park on Clinton Avenue.
Veterans from Clinton County who gave their lives to serve their country are honored at the site.
Senior Citizen Park
is on North Ottawa Street and features tennis courts, a basketball court, and small picnic shelter. Glider bench swings are located near the shelter.
St. Johns Jaycees City Park
is south of Senior Citizen Park on North Ottawa Street. The park has a very cool climbing structure for kids, as well as a small playscape and swings.
Mint City BMX Park
lets mountain bikers have fun on a hilly dirt track. Bike riders are encouraged to wear helmets and protective gear when using the dirt course. Rules are posted near the entrance. The park is north of Townsend Street.
Kibbee Street Park
is on the east side of St. Johns. The park has a nice playscape and playground.
A half-court basketball court is in the center of the park.
Water Tower Park
and Oak Street Park
have small playgrounds. Half-court basketball courts are
also available at the parks.
On the south side of St. Johns, there are little league fields on Townsend Road, which are used for St. Johns Youth Baseball league games.
Near the middle school, there is an athletic complex that has soccer fields, football fields, and baseball diamonds on the north side of Townsend Road.
St. Johns Bike Routes
There are several streets in St. Johns that have bike lanes. Lansing Street, Morton Street, Oakland Street, Park Street, Swegles Street, and Whittmore Street have bike lanes that are over a foot wide in most spots.
The width of Gibbs Street and McConnell Street provide room for cyclists to ride on the outside edge of those streets.
When riding along a street, be sure to stay alert and obey traffic laws.
Trails in St. Johns
are located along portions of Townsend Road, starting near Business US-127 and ending near the Mint City BMX Park. The southern segment passes the little league field complex and goes past County Farm Road. The path on the north side of the road starts at Swegles Street and goes west past the middle school, before ending near the drive to the BMX park. The total mileage of the paths along Townsend Road is over a mile long. A trail spur goes north at Lansing Street for about a quarter of a mile before turning into sidewalk at Oak Street.
St. Johns City Park has hiking trails
that wind through the wooded area on the west side of the park. The trailhead for the hiking trails is near a green and white shelter on the south side of the park.
Mountain bikers can use the hilly dirt course
at Mint City BMX Park.
St. Johns Museums
St. Johns became the county seat of Clinton County in 1857 and features several historic homes and locations.
You can learn a bit about the community's history by visiting two museums that are located in downtown.
- Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum
The oldest brick home in St. Johns was built in 1860 by John W. Paine. The home was bought in 1883 by
Dr. Samuel Gillam, who used it as his medical office. Dr. Walter A. Scott joined Gillam's medical practice and
practiced medicine at the building until 1934.
Since 1978, the building has been a museum, operated by the Clinton County Historical Society.
The museum features a display of an 1870 medical office and many other impressive artifacts.
The museum is open on Wednesdays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, visit the Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum's web site.
The Paine-Gillam-Scott Museum was listed in the State Register of Historic Sites in 1980. A Michigan historical marker is located near the entrance to the building.
- Clinton Northern Railway Museum
The first train depot for the Grand Trunk Railroad in St. Johns was built in 1858, and replaced by a brick structure in 1869. In 1920, the depot was destroyed by a tornado, and the existing structure was built. In 1992, the depot was closed to train traffic.
The depot is now the Clinton Northern Railway Museum, operated by the Clinton County Arts Council (CCAC).
Visitors can operate model trains and view artifacts from the railroad's past, including a collection of historic railcars.
From May through October, the Clinton Northern Railway Museum is open on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. For more information, visit the Clinton Northern Railway Museum's web site.
More About St. Johns
From mid-June through October, the Downtown Farmers Market features fresh produce, tasty baked goods, and much more on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. The market is held west of the Clinton County Courthouse on Maple Street.
From mid-June through August, the
Clinton County Arts Council
hosts its Concert in the Park Series on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. The event features different types of music throughout the season. Concerts are held rain or shine at the band shell at St. Johns City Park.
In early December, St. Johns hosts the Santa Parade of Lights in downtown on Clinton Avenue. The event features the presentation of the Key to the City to Santa Claus and the lighting of the St. Johns Christmas Tree.
In downtown St. Johns, there are several eateries and bars on Clinton Avenue, north of the courthouse. Along Business US-127, there are many fast-food and chain restaurants to choose from.
Several family-owned businesses and stores are located in downtown St. John's. Dollar General and Rite Aid are on East State Street/M-21. Kroger, Walgreen's, Dunham's Sports, Walmart, and several other stores are located on Business US-127.