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The City of Dexter, Michigan is in Washtenaw County, just northwest of the City of Ann Arbor and the Village of Barton Hills. It is mostly in Scio Township, with a portion of the city extending north into Webster Township.

The main route through the city is the Dexter-Ann Arbor Road, which enters Dexter in the southeast, and runs northwest through the center of the city, becoming Island Lakes Road as it exits the city in the northwest. Other routes include Baker Road, Dexter-Chelsea Road, Dexter-Pinckney Road, Huron River Drive, Joy Road, and Mast Road.

The Huron River forms a portion of the city's eastern border, with only a small portion of the city extending to the east side of the river, while Mill Creek forms a portion of the city's western border in the south, before flowing northeast to empty into the Huron River in north Dexter.

The center of Chelsea is 7.9 miles west of Dexter, while Barton Hills is 8.9 miles east-southeast, Ann Arbor is 9.9 miles southeast, and Pinckney is 10.1 miles north of the city.

Judge Samuel W. Dexter was the first European-American to acquire land in what was to become Dexter in 1824, buying a large parcel of land. Dr. Cyril Nichols and Samuel W. Foster came soon afterward. The river and creek were valuable resources for the new community. A sawmill was built in 1827, a woolen mill in 1838, a grist mill in 1844, and a cider mill in 1886. As others settled nearby, the community became known as the Mill Creek Settlement.

On April 24, 1826, Judge Dexter set up a post office in his home, becoming the first postmaster. He later served as the Chief Justice for Washtenaw County and was elected Regent for the University of Michigan. His home, overlooking Mill Creek in northwest Dexter, was built in 1840. Known as Gordon Hall, the structure was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1958 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972. It is said that the building contained secret rooms in the basement, accessible only through hidden doorways, that was used as a stop on the Underground Railroad.

Dexter was platted in 1830, the year that Charles P. Cowden opened the community's first store. It was incorporated as a village in 1855 and became a city in 2014.

On July 4, 1841, the Central Railroad of Michigan established a depot in Dexter, which was the terminus of the rail line. The depot included two waiting rooms, a ticket office, and a baggage room. Passenger service ended in 1953, and the trains don't stop in Dexter anymore, but the depot is home to the Ann Arbor Model Railroad Club.

For most of its history, Dexter's population has wavered between its low point of 587 in 1920 and around 1,500. However, after two decades of decline, its population rose by nearly 60% in the 1990s, and by almost 75% in the 2000s, with a population of 4,067 in 2010, and is estimated to rise by another 15% or more when the 2020 census numbers are released.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Dexter, Michigan. Online resources representing the city government or any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, or events located within the city are appropriate topics.


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