History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions


The History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions is contained in the many free eBooks and other online resources below. See the right column for more info about this website.


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Detroit

Southeast Michigan

Southwest Michigan

Northern Michigan



Michigan County Histories and Atlases

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The Michigan County Histories and Atlases Digitization Project is comprised of nearly 500 titles published before 1925. You can search or browse by title, author, or subject. The collection contains:

– County and Town Histories.
– Biographies. Many of the county histories contain large biographical sections, and there are also individual biographical volumes too.
– Business Directories
– Multi-volume Photo Collections entitled “Art Work” for the Lake Superior region, St. Clair County and Washtenaw County, published in the 1890s.
– Atlases or Plat Books for many counties, often with directories. There are 131 atlases, nearly all published after 1870.

These Michigan counties have histories and/or atlases in this collection:

Alcona County, Alger County, Allegan County, Alpena County, Antrim County, Arenac County, Baraga County, Barry County, Bay County, Benzie County, Berrien County, Branch County, Calhoun County, Cass County, Charlevoix County, Cheboygan County, Chippewa County, Clare County, Clinton County, Crawford County, Delta County, Dickinson County, Eaton County, Emmett County, Genesee County, Gladwin County, Gogebic County, Grand Traverse County, Gratiot County, Hillsdale County, Houghton County, Huron County, Ingham County, Ionia County, Iosco County, Iron County, Isabella County, Jackson County, Kalamazoo County, Kalkaska County, Kent County, Keweenaw County, Lake County, Lapeer County, Leelanau County, Lenawee County, Livingston County, Luce County, Mackinac County, Macomb County, Manistee County, Marquette County, Mason County, Mecosta County, Menominee County, Midland County, Missaukee County, Monroe County, Montcalm County, Montmorency County, Muskegon County, Newaygo County, Oakland County, Oceana County, Ogemaw County, Ontonagon County, Osceola County, Oscoda County, Otsego County, Ottawa County, Presque Isle County, Roscommon County, Saginaw County, St. Clair County, St. Joseph County, Sanilac County, Schoolcraft County, Shiawassee County, Tuscola County, Van Buren County, Washtenaw County, Wayne County, Wexford County.

Some of the Michigan towns and cities that have histories and/or atlases in this collection are:

Adrian, Albion, Allen, Alpena, Ann Arbor, Bay City, Benton Harbor, Birmingham, Cadillac, Camden, Cassopolis, Climax, Coldwater, Cross Village, Dearborn, Detroit, Dowagiac, East Saginaw, Elsie, Escanaba, Essexville, Flint, Florence, Grand Rapids, Grosse Pointe, Grosse Pointe Farms, Hillsdale, Homer, Howell, Ionia, Ironwood, Jackson, Jerome, Jonesville, Kalamazoo, L’Anse, Lansing, Leslie, Litchfield, Lowell, Marine City, Melbourne, Midland, Monroe, Montgomery, Moscow, Mosherville, Mount Clemens, Muskegon, Niles, North Adams, Northville, Osseo, Pequaming, Petoskey, Pontiac, Port Huron, Quincy, Ransom, Reading, Saginaw, Saint Clair, Saint Joseph, Sault Sainte Marie, Union City, Whitehall, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti, Zilwaukee.

Find maps of historical Michigan at: Michigan Maps, Map Collections & Gazetteers

county history, biography, city history, business directory, atlas, plat book, Michigan history, genealogy, family history, public domain

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

Online County and Town Histories Website – Michigan

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This website has links to numerous free online histories and biographical collections published in the late 19th and early 20th century. For Michigan there are over 400 titles. These include biographical collections and histories that are state-wide, regional and county-wide.

See the list of resources on this website for: Genealogy & Local History Research

county history, biography, free online books, genealogy, family history, city history, Michigan history, public domain, free online books


Detroit

The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922

Detroit: S. J. Clarke. 1922
Burton, Clarence M. ed.
 
Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3|Go to Vol 4|Go to Vol 5

 
See the quote from May and Dunbar in the note under Silas Farmer, History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan, on this web page.

Some volume 1 & 2 topics: Tribal distribution at the beginning of the sixteenth century, coureurs de bois, Samuel Champlain, Dollier and Galinee, Treaty of St. Mary’s, Treaty of Upper Sandusky, biography of Cadillac, Detroit under French rule, Ordinance of 1787, law and order in early Detroit, British rule in Detroit, public utilities, fire and police departments, penal and charitable institutions, slavery and underground railroad.

For novels depicting historic events in Old Detroit, see the works of Antona, Annetta Halliday; Crowley, Mary Catherine; Douglas, Amanda M.; Emery, Anne; Ford, R. Clyde; Munroe, Kirk; Otis, James; Parrish, Randall; Richardson, John and Sprague, William C., all on: Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

For a novel that depicts Detroit from 1907 to 1916, see: Aikman, Henry G., The Groper on Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Detroit history, Wayne county MI, Champlain, Cadillac, British regime, French regime, books, online books free

History of Detroit 1780 to 1850: Financial and Commercial

Detroit. 1917
Burton, Clarence M. Go to Book

Terming this a “financial and commercial” history seems slightly misleading today. Only a small part of this book is commercial history. Mainly it is a miscellaneous collection of incidents and stories, often very interesting, of Detroit from the 1780s until the mid-19th century. Among the stories of interest are the real estate boom in Detroit during the Revolution, and the effort by a few Detroit residents in the 1790s to buy the entire lower peninsula from the U.S. Government for $5,000.

See the newspaper, Detroit Gazette (1817-1828) and many other 19th century Michigan newspapers at: Michigan History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers

history of Detroit, history of business, 19th century, 1800s, 18th century, 1700s, anecdotes, books, free ebooks

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

A Brief History of Detroit in the Golden Days of ’49

Detroit: Detroit Savings Bank 1921
Catlin, George ByronGo to Book

Detroit history, 1849, 19th century, books, history, online books

Detroit in its World Setting: A 250-year chronology, 1701-1951

Detroit: Detroit Public Library 1953
Detroit Public LibraryGo to Book

“A chronology of events – 1701-1951. One section is on Detroit events; three others deal with the country and the world during these same years. Political events, fads, fancies, popular music, reading of the times and scientific developments are among the subjects covered. A valuable reference tool.”

The History of Detroit and Michigan or The Metropolis Illustrated …

Detroit: Farmer. 1889
Farmer, Silas Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

Subtitle: “A Chronological Cyclopaedia of the Past and Present including a full record of territorial days in Michigan and the annals of Wayne County”.

A large number of county histories were produced in Michigan, beginning at the Centennial of 1876. In the mid-1880s, May and Dunbar note that, “In many cases, the attention in local areas shifted from the county level to the preparation of histories of a city. Towering above all of the productions of this type is Silas Farmer, History of Detroit and Wayne County and Early Michigan,1884, which appeared in revised editions in 1889 and 1890. This thousand-page work covers nearly every imaginable topic in truly encyclopedic fashion, with its geographical range, as the title indicates, sometimes stretching well beyond Detroit. Numerous histories of Michigan’s largest city have appeared since Farmer, but none matches it for detail or replaces it as the basic source for the period Farmer covers, although Clarence M. Burton, ed., The City of Detroit, Michigan, 1701-1922, comes the closest.”
– Willis F. Dunbar and George S. May, Michigan: a History of the Wolverine State, Eerdmans 1995.

See the Michigan histories at: Michigan General History

For numerous Michigan history articles, see Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections and Michigan History Magazine at: Michigan History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers

Detroit history, Michigan history, Michigan Territory, Wayne county MI, books free, public domain

Directory of the City of Detroit: With its Environs, and Register of Michigan, for the Year 1837..

Detroit: Harsha 1837
MacCabe, Julius P. Bolivar Go to Book

(title continued) “…An epitomized history of Detroit; an alphabetical list of its citizens; a classification of professions and principal trades in the city; every information relative to officers of the municipal government, to public offices and officers, to churches, associations and institutions, to shipping steam boats, stages, &c. Also, a list of the officers of the United States’ Government; the names of the Governor, and members of the Legislature of Michigan, and County officers of the state, &c.”

See gazetteers for Michigan at: Michigan Maps, Map Collections & Gazetteers

Detroit history, City directory, 1837, books, ebooks online

Souvenir of Detroit

Detroit: Alvord 1891
Go to Book

Subtitle: “Fully Illustrated, containing a sketch of Detroit’s History, Resources and
Points of Interest to Visitors”.
Numerous photos.

Detroit history, Detroit photos


Southeast Michigan

History of Monroe County, Michigan: a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principal interests

Chicago: Lewis 1913
Bulkley, John McClelland Go to Book

Topics covered in early Monroe history include the Congress of Indians at St. Mary’s Falls, the Mode of Living of the Indians, Count Frontenac, Joliet, Father Marquette, the Griffin, Surrender of Detroit by General Hull.

Monroe county MI, Fort Detroit, history of Michigan, history, books online free

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

Ann Arbor: the First Hundred Years

Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce. 1927
Stephenson, Orlando WorthGo to Book

Stephenson was a professor at the University of Michigan. This history was done at Ann Arbor’s centennial. Topics mentioned in chapter headings include: the German settlers, private and public schools, the University, business life, fire and water, gas and light, health and sanitation, transportation and communication, YMCA and YWCA.

See the 19th century newspapers from Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti at: Michigan History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers

Ann Arbor history, University of Michigan, public domain, books, history, free online books

History of Jackson County, Michigan

Chicago: Inter-state Publishing Co. 1881
Go to Book

Jackson county Michigan, Jackson Michigan history, county history, online free books, American history

De Land’s History of Jackson county, MI; embracing a concise review of its early settlement…

Logansport, IN: Bowen 1903
DeLand, Charles Victor Go to Book

(title continued) “…industrial development and present conditions, together with interesting reminiscences, compiled by Colonel Charles V. DeLand, to which is appended a comprehensive compendium of local biography, embracing life sketches of many well-known citizens of the county. Illustrated.”

Some topics included in the Table of Contents are: the Great Railroad Conspiracy Case, the Republican Party – History of its origin and organization, newspapers and newspapermen.

For memoirs and biographies of life on the frontier in the Old Northwest, see:
Biographies & Memoirs in Ohio History
;
Biographies & Memoirs in Indiana History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Illinois History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Michigan History;
Biographies & Memoirs in Wisconsin History

Jackson county Michigan, birthplace of the Republican party, U.S. history, books online, public domain


Views of Jackson and Vicinity

Portland, ME: Nelson 1900
Go to Book

Photos of Jackson, taken mostly in the 1890s.

Jackson Michigan history, historical photos, books, ebooks free


Portrait and Biographical Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan…

Chicago: Chapman Bros. 1891
Go to Book

(title continued) “… containing biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the counties, together with biographies of all the
governors of the state and of all the presidents of the United States”

For descriptions by an early settler of Pinckney, Livingston County, see the novels of Caroline Kirkland on: Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Ingham county MI, Livingston county MI, county history, 19th century, 1800s, biography, portraits, books online

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

Pioneer History of Ingham County

Lansing: Wykoop Hallenbeck Crawford 1923
Adams, Mrs. Franc L. Go to Book

Topics covered are Ingham County Stories of Pioneer Days, and township histories.

Ingham county MI, Pioneers, frontier, Michigan history, books, township history

City in the Forest: The Story of Lansing

NY: Stratford House 1950
Darling, BirtGo to Book


History of the Early Life and Business Interests of the Village and Township of Leslie, Ingham County, Michigan

Leslie: Daughters of the American Revolution 1914
Vliet, Mina AliceGo to Book



Southwest Michigan

Kalamazoo County Directory with a History of the County from its Earliest Settlement…

Kalamazoo: Thomas 1869
Thomas, James M., comp. Go to Book

(title continued) “…Containing descriptions of each Town and Village within the County. Also, the Names of all Persons Residing in the Several Villages in the County. With a New Census of Kalamazoo Village, and all the Villages in the County”

See the 19th century newspapers from southwestern Michigan at: Michigan History Periodicals: Magazines, Historical Journals & Newspapers

Kalamazoo county MI, county history, 19th century, 1800s, Kalamazoo village, county directory, books online free

“Glimpses of Early Michigan Life in and about Kalamazoo”

Magazine of American History Vol 24, pp 457-464

NYC 1890
Gibbs, Mary V.Go to Article

Reminiscences of the 1830s.

For a novel set in early Kalamazoo county, see: Cooper, James Fenimore, The Oak-openings; Or, The Bee-hunter on Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Kalamazoo history

Labadie’s Souvenir of Picturesque Kalamazoo

Kalamazoo: Labadie 1909
AuthorGo to Book

100 pages of photos

Kalamazoo history, Kalamazoo photos, historic photos

An Account of Southwest Michigan and St. Joseph County

Dayton: Nathional Historical Association 1924
Weissert, Charles A., ed.Go to Book

Among the topics covered in the Table of Contents for Southwest Michigan are included: Indian Life prior to white settlement, Kalamazoo as a center of Indian trails, La Salle’s fort on the St. Joseph River, French influence in the Kalamazoo Valley in the 1690s, conflict between French and Indians in early 1700s, Fur Trade at St. Joseph, Spanish capture of Fort St. Joseph, Michigan in the Black Hawk War, construction of Fort Hogan, Pottawatomi village in Portage township, Titus Bronson founds Kalamazoo.

Also of interest: Carson, Gerald, Cornflake Crusade;
Kellogg, John Harvey, M.D., The Battle Creek Sanitarium; History, Organization, Methods; and
Kellogg Toasted Corn Flake Company, A Little Journey to the Home of Kellogg’s Toasted Corn Flakes;
all on Michigan Economic History

For novels set in historic southwestern Michigan, see: Ludlow, Will Cumback, Onawago, or the Betrayer of Pontiac and Mulder, Arnold, The Outbound Road on Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

history of Michigan, southwest Michigan, St. Joseph county MI, Kalamazoo Valley, Fur trade, Pottawatomi, Fort Hogan, online books

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

History of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan … (with an appendix–History of Lowell, Michigan)

NY: Munsell. 1891
Baxter, Albert Go to Book

Dunbar and May said of this city history, “For outstate communities, Albert Baxter, History of the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan, comes close to the high standards of comprehensiveness set by Silas Farmer” [in his History of Detroit, found on this web page]. Willis F. Dunbar and George S. May, Michigan: a History of the Wolverine State, Eerdmans 1995.

Some topics from the Table of Contents: Algonquins and their predecessors, ceding of lands north of Grand River, Indian trade, Dexter colony, Grand River Valley in 1837, government under French and English rule, Northwest Territory, first steamboats, the Holland colony.

Grand Rapids Michigan history, Grand River Valley, Michigan history, ebooks free, public domain


The Yesterdays of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids: Dean-Hicks 1922
Belknap, Charles E.Go to Book

Some topics from the Table of Contents: Shantytown and wildcat money, pioneers’ winter food, an Indian wedding tour, the first river steamboat, the Fisk Lake Log Tavern, Kent County’s pioneer jail, experience of a volunteer fireman, an old-time doctor.

Also see: Richmond, Rebecca L., “The Fur Traders of the Grand River Valley”; Widdicomb, William, “The Early History of the Furniture Industry in Grand Rapids”; and Irwin, R. W., Story of the Grand Rapids Strike on Michigan Economic History

Grand Rapids history, anecdotes, 19th century, 1800s, American history, books online free


History of Grand Rapids and its Industries

Chicago: Cooper 1906
Goss, Dwight Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

history of Grand Rapids, industry, furniture industry, books, economic history, free ebooks

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions


Northern Michigan

Mackinac formerly Michilimackinac

Lansing: Thorp. 1895
Bailey, John R. (M.D.)Go to Book

History of Mackinac from the 1630s, when French missionaries first passed through. The volume includes a considerable amount of Native American history in that area.

Mackinac history, Fort Michilimackinac, New France, Michigan Native Americans, free online books, trading post, fur trade

The Ontonagon Country: The Story of An American Frontier

Ontonagon, MI: Ontonagon Herald 1948
Jamison, James K.Go to Book


Old and New Mackinac …

Ann Arbor: Courier 1870
Van Fleet, J.A. Rev. Go to Book

Subtitle: “with copious extracts from Marquette, Hennepin, La Houtan, Cadillac, Alexander Henry, and others”.

For links to tourist booklets from the 1880s and 1890s, see: Vacationing Up-North before Autos

For a novel about Jacques Marquette in northern Michigan, see: Corcoran, Charles, Blackrobe on Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Mackinac history, Father Marquette, Cadillac, Fur trade, 1600s, 17th century, 18th century, 1700s, Indian trade, New France, ebooks free

Historic Mackinac: The Historical, Picturesque and Legendary Features of the Mackinac Country …

NY: Macmillan. 1918
Wood, Edwin O.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2

Subtitle: “illustrated from sketches, drawings, maps and photographs, with an original map of Mackinac Island, made especially for this work”.

history of Mackinac, Michigan maps, books, geography, history, online library


History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: containing a full account of its early settlement…

Chicago: Western Historical Co. 1883
Go to Book

(title continued) “…its growth, development, and resources, an extended description of its iron and copper mines: also, accurate sketches of its counties, cities, towns, and villages … biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers”

For an 1840s account of copper country in the U.P., see: St. John, John R., A True Description of the Lake Superior Country on Michigan Economic History

Michigan history, Upper Peninsula, pioneers, settlers, copper mines, iron mines, biography, portraits, online book

History of Michigan Cities, Counties & Regions

Memorial Record of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan, Illustrated

Chicago: Lewis 1895
Go to Book

Links to Museums & Historic Sites in the Michigan U.P.: Thinking of Visiting Northern Michigan?

Michigan history, Northern Michigan, biography, public domain, online books free


A History of Northern Michigan and its People

Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company 1912
Powers, Perry F. Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3

Late 20th Century historians of Michigan George May and Willis Dunbar recommended this in 1995 in History of the Wolverine State as the only work for most of the counties of the northern half of the Lower Peninsula that, “… is comparable to the Durant-Farmer-Baxter model of county or city history for the southern part of the state”. In other words, they considered this among the best of the local histories written for Michigan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and definitely the best history of this part of the state.

For novels set in historic northern Michigan, see the works of Burton, Frederick R.; Catherwood, Mary Hartwell; Corcoran, Charles; Crowley, Mary Catherine; Curwood, James Oliver; Ford, R. Clyde; Glenwood, Ida; Holt, Alfred Hubbard; Richardson, John; Smith, Alice Prescott; Victor, Metta Victoria Fuller; White, Stewart Edward; Whittier, Charles Albert; Woolson, Constance Fenimore and Wright, James North, all on: Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Michigan history, Northern Michigan, northern Lower Peninsula, books, ebooks free


A History of the Northern Peninsula of Michigan and its People

Chicago: Lewis. 1911
Sawyer, Alvah L.Go to Vol 1|Go to Vol 2|Go to Vol 3

Late 20th Century historians of Michigan George May and Willis Dunbar recommended this in 1995 in History of the Wolverine State as the only work for the upper peninsula that, “… is comparable to the Durant-Farmer-Baxter model of county or city history for the southern part of the state”. In other words, they considered this among the best of the local histories written for Michigan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and definitely the best history of the upper peninsula.

Also see the Michigan histories at: Michigan General History

Links to Museums & Historic Sites in the Michigan U.P.: Thinking of Visiting Northern Michigan?

Michigan history, Northern Michigan, Upper Peninsula, books, ebooks free

“At the Meeting of the Trails: The Romance of a Parish Register”

Proceedings of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association Vol VI, 1912-13, 198-217

Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Mississippi Valley Historical Association
Thwaites, Reuben GoldGo to Article

The parish register of the title is for the small church at St. Ignace from 1695 to 1821. The author draws upon the parish register as a source for a cursory history of the community that was based on the Mackinaw trading post, which played a vital role in the life of the region’s Indians and served the French as their western outpost of empire in Canada.

Souvenir of the Copper Country; Upper Peninsula of Michigan

Houghton: Tyler 1904
Go to Book

100 pages of photos; no text.

For a novel depicting copper mining in the U.P., see: Wright, James North, Where Copper was King; a Tale of the Early Mining Days on Lake Superior on Michigan Novels and Historical Fiction

Northern Michigan, Upper Peninsula, copper mining

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