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Flat Rock, Michigan is an outer southern suburb of the Detroit metropolitan region. The city is adjacent to Rockwood to the southeast, to South Rockwood to the south, and Trenton to the northeast.

Flat Rock is in the southeastern Lower Peninsula, mostly in Wayne County with a small section extending into Monroe County. Its border follows the course of the Huron River as it was in 1923, the year that Flat Rock was incorporated as a village. At that time, the river had two meanders, but they have since been filled in.

The first historical mention of settlers in the area that was to become Flat Rock was made by father Jean Dilhet, a French priest, who described what he referred to as Grosse Roche as being a part of his parish in 1798. However, the first European-American settlers in flat rock were Michael Vreeland and his five adult sons, who came between 1811 and 1820.

Flat Rock began as a Wyandot settlement, however. It was later designated as a reservation for the Wyandot and continued to function as such as late as 1830.

Michael Vreeland and his sons initially purchased 800 acres in the area that was later to become Flat Rock. In 1818, a land office opened in Detroit, and Soloman Sibley purchased 330.93 acres of land in the region, which he sold to Michael and Jacob Vreeland in 1824. At that time, there were still Huron, Seneca, and Wyandot villages in the area.

The opening of the Erie canal in 1825 made it much easier for people to travel from the east to Michigan. Consequently, large numbers of people came to settle in Michigan, and many of them settled in the area that was to become Flat Rock. The resulting community became known as the Village of Vreeland, as the Vreeland family owned the largest portion of the land in the region. The Vreeland family built the first green and Lumbermill in the area, transporting the grinding stones from New York. Descendants of Michael Vreeland still live in the town.

By 1828, the village had four stores, two sawmills, a flour mill, a wool carding mill, and a population of about 250 people. In large part, the village served as a center for people who built farms in the surrounding region.

In 1838, the Vreeland family sold off most of their land in the region, relinquishing control of the area. That year, the Gibraltar and Flat Rock Land Company planted and recorded the village of Flat Rock. The land company helped to construct a canal connecting Lake Erie with Lake Michigan, an effort that never came about.

Attracted by the Huron River, which provided water power, Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company Lamp Factory along the banks of the river in 1925. The Flat Rock Dam was built to provide hydroelectricity to the factory.

Flat Rock was incorporated as a village in 1923 and became a city in 1965. Since Flat Rock first appeared on a census in 1880, with a population of 373, it has never experienced a population decline. Its current population is just over 10,000.

The focus of this guide is on the city of Flat Rock, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources representing the city itself, or any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events within the city.


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