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Named for the sandstone rock ledges that rise forty to sixty feet above the Grand River, which flows through the city, Grand Ledge, Michigan Is mostly in northern Eaton County, although a portion of the city extends north into Clinton County.

The chief routes through the city are M-43 and M-100. M-43 runs east to its intersection with I-69, west-northwest of downtown Lansing, and is also known as Hartel Road. M-100 runs north-south, connecting the city with I-69 to the south and I-96 to the north, and is also known as East Saginaw Highway east of the city, and as East Grand Ledge Highway to the west. Willow Highway runs east, on the south side of the river, from Grand Ledge to Lansing.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Grand Ledge include Eagle, Mulliken, Potterville, Dimondale, Lansing, Sunfield, Portland, DeWitt, Westphalia, Charlotte, and East Lansing.

Although Grand Ledge is nearly fully developed, its natural features make the city unique. The Grand River flows through the heart of the city, and high ledges run along both sides of the river, extending for about a mile through Grand Ledge, rising as high as sixty feet, a feature that attracts rock climbers. There are also seven islands in the river, extending from downtown to the western edge of the city. Although these "finger islands" have been mostly connected today, the islands known as Four, Five, and Six were too small for recreational use, and have been left alone.

Before the European-American settlement of the area, it was inhabited by the Potawatomi, Ojibwa, and Ottawa people, who dug clams in the river, mined coal along its banks, and hunted and fished the area. Their name for the ledges was translated as Big Rocks.

The first European-American to acquire land in the area that was to become Grand Ledge was H. Mason, a land speculator who bought land there, but he never moved onto the property and it was sold for taxes four years later. The first to move onto the land was Henry A. Trench, who was educated at Oberlin and served for several years as the township inspector of schools. He lectured in log schoolhouses about scientific subjects, but did not of these things for a living. Instead, he had a soldering iron and earned his way mending tin pans, becoming known as Tinker Trench. Reportedly, it was he who gave the new town its name, saying that it was the only ledge upon the Grand.

Many reports name Edmund L. Lamson as Grand Ledge's first permanent settler because, although Trench was already there when Lamson arrived in 1848, Trench eventually moved away, and some of the same reports attribute the naming of the city to Mrs. Lamson. At any rate, Edmund Lamson was an early settler, and he came to own much of the land there. However, when a post office was established on July 20, 1850, Henry Trench became its first postmaster.

Around that time, John W. Russell and Abram Smith built a dam on the Grand River to support a mill, which was later sold to Kent, Hixson & Company. In 1859, Reuben Wood and Nathan Allen opened the first dry goods store in Grand Ledge, situating it on the north side of the river, planning it to be the nucleus of the town's business district. William Russell opened the first grocery store, as well as a hotel.

In 1853, a bridge was built across the river. The town was laid out on October 28, 1853, incorporated as a village on April 8, 1871, and as a city in 1893.

As the city grew, residential areas developed mostly south of the Grand River, while businesses were established on the north side, nearer the railroad. Eventually, the central business district of the city expanded on both sides of the river, surrounded by single-family neighborhoods.

Today, except for a few areas along the edges of the city, Grand Ledge is fully developed. Many of its residents work in Lansing or elsewhere outside of the city. The city's population has grown steadily since its inception, except for a very slight decline in 2010, but it is expected to rise again in 2020.

Nearly 70% of the city's housing units are owner-occupied. Its core business district along the river includes several historic buildings, and the district is surrounded by mature neighborhoods with sidewalks and narrow, tree-lined streets. New commercial buildings are located along streets with the highest traffic volumes, such as M-43 and M-100. Approximately 42% of the land area in Grand Ledge is residential, 28% institutional, and 23% vacant property, while 5% is commercial and just over 2% industrial.

The focus of this category is on the city of Grand Ledge, Michigan, and appropriate topics include online resources representing the city itself, or any businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and sports and recreational facilities, programs, and teams.


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