Located along the U.S. 12 Heritage Route (Sauk Trail).

The city reflects a unique balance of past and present, featuring many fine old turn-of-the-twentieth century homes. The village, and later, city of Coldwater enjoyed a booming economy filled with rapid retail development and industry of many types.

Coldwater was originally platted by two of the earliest settlers, Allen Tibbits and Joseph Hanchett. The newly laid out village was originally called Lyons after the New York home of Allen Tibbits. The first Treaty of Chicago establish an Indian Reservation (Mickesawbe) that included all the land that would become village of Coldwater (taken from the Potawatomie name chuck-saw-ya-bish which meant cold running water). The second Treaty of Chicago (1833) traded the land to the settlers and eliminated the presence of the reservation.

The village would become the county seat of the new County of Branch. In 1861 the incorporation transitioned from a village to a city.

The community militia which functioned as a light artillery unit became the 1st Michigan Light Artillery at the commencement of the Civil War. Branch County sent a significant number of its men to the Civil War as part of Infantry, artillery and cavalry units. One of the most well-known of these units was the 1st Michigan Light Artillery, and its Battery A unit which would become known as the Loomis Battery. It was under the command of Coldwaterite, Cyrus Loomis.

Many Victorian Era homes can be seen by touring the city. Some noteworthy buildings would include the Wing House Museum, the Tibbits Opera House and the Masonic Temple which was the former Lewis Art Gallery.

The Tibbits Opera House was built in 1882
The Wing House Museum was built by the Chandler family in 1875