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The city of Adrian is in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, straddling Adrian township to the north and Madison Township to the south. The city's urban area extends into both of these townships, as well as into Raisin and Palmyra townships.

Lenawee Junction is about five miles to the east, Cadmus is just under seven miles to the west, Jasper is just over seven miles to the south, Tecumseh is about seven and a half miles northeast, and Toledo, Ohio is thirty-nine miles southeast.

Lake Adrian is in the northern part of the city, and Wolf Creek feeds into it. The South Branch River Raisin is a stream that enters in the northeast and passes through the center of the city.

Adrian was founded by Addison J. Comstock, who came to the area in 1825, acquiring 1,100 acres the following year, when he returned from New York with a bride and some settlers. He platted the town, naming it Logan. In 1828, his wife persuaded him to rename for her hero in history, the Roman emperor Hadrian.

A post office was established on March 20, 1828, with Comstock as the first postmaster. Adrian was incorporated as a village in 1836, and as a city in 1853.

Comstock also founded Addison village and township, about twenty miles northwest of Adrian, naming it for himself.

The township remained Logan Township until March 6, 1838, when the state legislature renamed it Adrian.

Adrian played a part in the Underground Railroad, after a group of Quakers founded the first congregation of Quakers in Michigan in 1831, creating a network of Underground Railroad stations in the Raisin River Valley, a work that was later aided by others, including the Adrian-Tecumseh Underground Railroad network that was established by a Baptist pastor in Lenawee County.

Around the same time, Adrian had a major role in the history of actual railroads in Michigan. The first working rail line in Michigan was the result of a struggle between Adrian and Tecumseh over which city was to become the county seat. Tecumseh was larger and located on a new military road connecting Detroit with Chicago, so Tecumseh had the advantage. In order to counteract this, Adrian residents voted to support the construction of a railroad between Adrian and Port Lawrence (Toledo), Ohio, laying track through the Black Swamp. The Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad came through Adrian in 1836, and this was enough to give the city the edge to be designated the county seat.

One of the first motor vehicles was created in Adrian. Built between 1900 and 1912, three car models were manufactured in Adrian. The first cars built in Adrian were the Murry Motor Car and the Lenawee Car, both manufactured by the Church Manufacturing Company. Although they were a bit hit at the 1910 Chicago Automobile Show, and hundreds of them were sold, the company did not survive long. The third car built in Adrian was the Lion, produced by the Lion Motor Car Company which, for a time, was one of the leading automobile manufacturers. However, the plant was destroyed by fire in 1912, destroying about two hundred cars, putting an end to the company.

Adrian College is a private liberal arts college situated on a 100-acre campus on the west side of the city. Founded in the 1850s, the college campus served as a base for the formation of Michigan regiments of the Union Army in the early stages of the Civil War. Also located in Adrian is Siena Heights University, Jackson College, and the LISD Tech Center.

Today, Adrian is a city of just over twenty thousand. Its top employer is Bixby Medical Center, whose facilities are largely concentrated in north Adrian.

The city hosts seventeen community parks and open spaces, a historic downtown district with dining, shopping, and entertainment venues.

Built in 1866, and originally known as the Adrian Union Hall, the Croswell Opera House is the oldest theater in the state, and one of the oldest continuously operating theaters in the country. It was designated a Michigan Historic Site in 1976 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

The Adrian Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1981 and has featured seasons of classical, pops, and school-day educational concerts.

The Lenawee County Fair Grounds in Adrian is situated on the site of the oldest fair in Michigan, which has hosted fairs and other events since 1839.

Topics related to the city of Adrian, Michigan are the focus of this category or its subcategories. This may include sites representing the municipal government or any individuals, organizations, churches, schools, businesses, or other entities within the city.

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