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Marshall is a city in the south-central part of Michigan.  It is the county seat of Calhoun County.

John Bellairs encountered historic homes and buildings walking to and from his home, his school, the library, and his church in his native Marshall, Michigan. John found familiarity and comfort in these locations, and would often escape into fantasized adventures during his explorations around town. He would later adapt it into the fictional community of New Zebedee.