The Kalamazoo Emigration Society's charter provided for the establishment of a Congregational Church, but in fact the Presbyterian Church of Gull Prairie was the first religious institution in Richland. Writings in a small lined minute book recorded a meeting in the log cabin of Cornelius and Mary Northrop on 14 October 1831 to form the Presbyterian Church. The next religious group to organize was the Congregationalists, and the two bodies were often at odds over various aspects of frontier life. However, over time these disputes were resolved, and the religious community of Richland expanded to include Methodist, Baptist, and Catholic congregations.
Early social activities included barn raising, quilting parties, corn husking, apple-paring bees, and Temperance meetings. The Temperance movement was strong in the Richland area. The Richland Red Ribbon Club was formed in 1878 to "promote temperance and make it so attractive as to draw in our fathers and mothers... and save our sons and our daughters from the evils of the intoxicating cup." The Ladies Library Association was organized by a group of women in 1880 to make good books available within the community. In 1923 the Gull Prairie Garden Club, still active today, was started to encourage civic involvement. The Masons and Odd-Fellows organized as early fraternal organizations for pioneer men.
The second half of the nineteenth century saw Richland realize its potential as the agricultural center of the county. By 1870 Richland Township led all others in numbers of crops and livestock. Partly as a response to this success, the residents of the small area called Gull Corners decided to incorporate into the village of Richland, and the bill was approved on 18 March 1871. Soon afterwards Richland slowly began to accumulate some of the trappings and conveniences of its larger neighbors. In the early 1920s, a new consolidated school was built in the village. A fire truck was purchased in 1924. Once Gull Road was paved, a bus line was able to stop there starting in 1925. As a response to the widespread unemployment brought about by the Great Depression, Dr. W. E. Upjohn, established a project called the Upjohn Richland Farms in 1931.