Columbia Township was established in 1838 and at that time included the settlements of Brooklyn, Clarks Lake and Jefferson. The Village of Jefferson, which included a dam, sawmill and grist mill, also served as the Columbia Post Office location. The Township population, at that time, was 1,560. By the turn of the Century, although the mill was still in operation, the township chose not to bring the railroad to Jefferson. The Village of Brooklyn did have rail service and the Village of Jefferson ceased to exist within a few years.
Clarks Lake, named after the US surveyor who discovered it, was settled in 1833 by George Stranahan who planted the first orchard on the north side of the lake. Clarklake is now the official name of the lake and Post Office located there and is now the site of over 650 homes providing wonderful recreation for many township residents.
Lake Columbia, a pre-depression project, was delayed until the winter of 1961-1962 when over 840 acres of farmland were flooded along Goose Creek to form the private lake community. There are now over 1,250 homes along 12 miles of shoreline.
Columbia Township is blessed with an abundance of lakes as one-half of 505 acre Vineyard Lake is also within the Township’s borders. The northern portion of Cement City is also within the Township’s area, making Columbia one of the few townships with multiple villages (Brooklyn and Cement City). Brooklyn is a hub of activity during the summer with visitors to many of the Township attractions including several races at Michigan International Speedway.