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The village of Grass Lake, Michigan is situated on the southeastern banks of the body of water for which it was named.

Grass Lake is a 126-acre, shallow body of water, named for the marsh grass that it supported. Its maximum depth is four feet.

In central-eastern Jackson County, the village is surrounded by Grass Lake Township. The chief route through the village is Michigan Avenue, which runs generally east-west through the downtown area. Other routes include Burtch Road, Mount Hope Road, and Wolf Lake Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of the village include Jackson, Brooklyn, Chelsea, Stockbridge, Manchester, and Cement City. The larger city of Ann Arbor is about twenty-five miles to the east, Lansing is fifty miles north-northwest, Battle Creek is fifty-five miles west, and Toledo, Ohio is seventy miles to the south-southeast.

Although Grass Lake has some light industry and commercial activities, many of its residents are dependent upon neighboring urban areas for employment, shopping, and cultural activities. Most of the real estate within the village is single-family residential, although there are some two-family homes, and a few multi-family buildings scattered throughout the village.

George Long Elementary School is in the southeastern part of the village, and the largest concentration of parks and recreational land within the village is associated with the elementary school. Grass Lake Middle School and Grass Lake High School are located just outside the village limits to the east and south, respectively.

The first European-Americans to settle the area that was to become Grass Lake were David Sterling and his family, squatters who live in a small cabin. It is believed that the Sterlings came in the late 1820s, as they were there when George C. Pease, his son, William H. Pease, and William's cousin, David Thayer, came from New York in the fall of 1829. Daniel Walker came from Vermont in 1830. Other early settlers included Ralph Updike and John Ritchie, who came in 1831. Others soon followed and, by 1835, most of the available government land had been claimed.

On December 30, 1839, a post office was established, with Lorenzo D. Hale as postmaster.

In 1842, the Michigan Central Railroad bypassed the original townsite, building a railroad depot a mile and a half to the west. Before long, many of the village buildings were relocated to be closer to the railroad. In 1887, the original depot was replaced by a stone depot designed by Spier and Rohns, built from stone taken from the same quarry as the Ann Arbor station.

Grass Lake was incorporated as a village in 1871.

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