BERRIEN SPRINGS — The History Center at Courthouse Square is offering a chance for a peek into Berrien County as it was in 1873.The historical association is reprinting the 1873 "Atlas of Berrien County." The atlas includes full-color plat maps of every township and village, an index for the names of all property owners, and information on natural and man-made features.In addition to the color plates, the reprint edition of the atlas includes an index for the names of every property owner shown on the plates. Researchers can use the huge index to locate the thousands of property owner names, sawmills, cemeteries and the like that are scattered throughout the county.The original atlas was published by the firm C.O. Titus of Philadelphia, which published scores and perhaps hundreds of county atlases during the 1870s. The 1873 atlas was the first of its kind for Berrien County.Its colored pages mapped every township in the county and located natural features such as lakes, streams and the Lake Michigan shoreline. Of perhaps greater importance to historians, however, are the man-made features, including roads, piers, railroads, cemeteries and all kinds of buildings. Property within townships is identified with the owners' names, the number of acres owned, and the location of structures on the land. Buildings appear as small black squares.The plat maps depict houses, stores, schools, churches, railroad depots and other prominent buildings scattered throughout the townships, along with "S. Mills" (saw mills), "S.S. Mills" (steam-powered saw mills), and "G. Mills" (grist mills). Lumber piers show up along the Lake Michigan shore, including Dunham's Pier in Lincoln Township, and Greenbush Pier and Union Pier in Chikaming Township.In addition to township plats, the atlas includes plats of many towns, including Coloma, New Troy, New Buffalo, Bridgman, Stevensville, Niles, Buchanan, St. Joseph, Benton Harbor, Berrien Springs, Three Oaks, Galien and Watervliet. Like the township maps, these plats show houses, stores and other structures on the numbered village lots.Numerous changes have altered the county's political landscape over the past 134 years. Coloma Township, for example, did not exist, as it was then part of Watervliet Township. Likewise, Baroda Township was part of Lake Township.The settlements of Brown's Station in Lake Township and Avery Station between Galien and Three Oaks scarcely exist today, and Troy Station in Chikaming Township has become Sawyer. All three places were railroad stops.Not until 1887, when Rand McNally published a similar atlas, did another such volume cover Berrien County.Copies of the atlas, which sell for $24.95, are available at the Courthouse Museum Store in Berrien Springs. Museum store hours during the winter are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.Copies can also be purchased mail order through the History Center, P.O. Box 261, Berrien Springs, Mich. 49103. Shipping is $5. Michigan residents should add $1.50 sales tax.Wightman & Associates Inc. of Benton Township, a civil engineering and surveying firm, has co-sponsored the publication.People who want more information can contact The History Center at Courthouse Square at 471-1202.