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The City of Durand, Michigan is in the center of Vernon Township, Shiawassee County, in the Lower Peninsula. It's about twenty miles southwest of Flint.

Other nearby villages and cities include Vernon (3.5 miles), Bancroft (5.6 miles), Gaines (6.7 miles), Byron (7.3 miles), Lennon (7.6 miles), Corunna (9.0 miles), Morrice (11.7 miles), Swartz Creek (12.3 miles), Owosso (12.4 miles), Perry (14.0 miles), and Linden (17.3 miles).

The chief route to and from the city is I-69, which forms its northwest border. I-75 runs north-south and is located about thirteen miles east of Durand. Other routes include M-71, which crosses the interstate just outside the northwest city limits, and Durand Road, Lansing Road, Monroe Road, Newburg Road, Pittsburg Road, and Reed Road.

Holly Drain forms a small portion of Durand's eastern boundary in the north, then flows north and west through the northern portion of the city, emptying into the Shiawassee River. Three Mile Creek crosses the southeastern tip of the city, then winds its way north, touching the city again in the east-central part of Durand.

Durand is known for its large, historic railroad depot. Now serving Amtrak Blue Water trains, the depot was built in 1903 as a station for the Grand Trunk Railroad and Ann Arbor Railroad and served as a local office for Grand Trunk Western until 1974. Currently owned by the City of Durand, it is leased to Durand Union Station, a non-profit organization dedicated to its preservation and maintenance. Besides serving as an Amtrak station, Durand Union Station houses three small railroad museums: the Michigan Railroad History Museum, the Grand Trunk Western Railroad Museum, and the Ann Arbor Railroad History Museum. The building also houses the Durand Union Station Model Railroad Engineers, a model railroad club.

Until the decline of the railroad industry in the latter part of the 20th century, Durand was a major railroad center. Outside of Durand, agriculture was a significant industry. Although not as important as a sustaining industry today, much of the land just outside of the city limits continues to be used for agricultural purposes, lending a rural character to the city. There has been some commercial development along Lansing Road, in an area that has been mostly annexed to the city. Higher density residential neighborhoods are found almost exclusively within the city, much of it within or immediately adjacent to the city's northern border.

The city was formed on land that had been owned by Mary Miller, William Young, and Dr. L.D. Jones in the mid-1930s. William H. Putnam acquired some of the lands, and employed James C. Brand to plat and record the village as Vernon Center, named for its position within Vernon Township. Early industries were agricultural although today, only about two percent of the land within the city limits is agricultural.

The arrival of the Detroit and Milwaukee Railroad in 1856 marked a change in the future of the community. At that time, Vernon Center had a sawmill and a few businesses. On May 8, 1876, a post office was established, although it was named Durand, for George H. Durand, a congressman from the 6th district. William Putnam was the first postmaster.

On February 7, 1887, Durand was incorporated as a village. By 1904, the new village had a municipal water system, a sewer system, a telephone system, an electric plant, cement sidewalks, and a volunteer fire department. On July 18, 1932, Durand was incorporated as a city.

During the early part of the 20th century, railroad operations in Durand expanded greatly. The Grand Trunk Railroad erected the Grand Trunk Rail Depot and a Roundhouse. In 1912, forty-two passenger trains, a hundred freight trains, and three thousand passengers came in and out of Durand daily. That was the peak year for the railroad in Durand, after which the number of trains gradually began to decrease. The last passenger service on the Grand Trunk line was April 30, 1971. However, on September 13, 1974, Amtrak began offering passenger service in Durand, and freight still comes through the city, although not nearly as much as in earlier years.

As the railroad declined, the city's economy began to move outward from its traditional rail-dominated city center, as development began to move north of the railroad junction. Roads and highways gained in importance. In particular, Lansing Road served as the main connector between Flint and Lansing, so development began there, and continues, although I-69 has largely supplanted Lansing Road as a major roadway.

Today, Durand has some light industry, but very little heavy industry. Commercial development is sufficient to serve the needs of the community, its visitors, and those who are traveling through. Although not a bedroom community, the city is primarily residential.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Durand, Michigan.

 

 

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