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Situated on both sides of the Saline River, Milan is mostly in Milan Township in Monroe County, although a portion of the city extends north into York Township in Washtenaw County, in the southeastern portion of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

The chief route through the Milan is US-23, which runs generally north-south through the eastern portion of the city. Other routes include Carpenter Road (Dexter Street), Mooreville Road (West Main Street), Plank Road (East Main Street), Platt Road (Platt Street), Redman Road, North Sanford Road, and Wabash Road (Wabash Street).

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Milan include Saline, Dundee, Maybee, Britton, Ypsilanti, Petersburg, Ann Arbor, Clinton, Carleton, Tecumseh, Belleville, and Deerfield. Azalia and Cone are nearby unincorporated communities.

John Marvin became the first settler in the area that was to become Milan when he came in 1830, building a log cabin that served both as his home as well as a general store, serving travelers along a plank road that connected Monroe to Saline.

A tollgate was placed along the road at Milan. Each traveler was stopped at the toll booth in Milan and was required to pay five cents.

Bethuel Hack and Harmon Allen came to the area shortly after John Marvin. These men formed the nucleus for the town, although neither of them platted a townsite. Others soon followed, building houses along wagon trails, which were themselves built along Native American trails. By the spring of 1833, there were enough people there to justify the establishment of a post office, and Bethuel Hack became the first postmaster on March 27, 1833.

Originally, the post office was known as Farmersville, but when Henry Tolan, the town's first druggist, served as postmaster between 1834 and 1836, he renamed the post office Tolanville, for himself. On April 21, 1836, the post office took on the name of Milan, although the town was unofficially known as Woodward's Mills, for David A. Woodward, a mill owner, up until about 1860.

For a time, the town was known as Farmersville, Tolanville, Woodward's Mills, and Milan at the same time, depending on who was asked, and this resulted in some problems for the postal service. Despite a resolution from the Postmaster General on April 21, 1836, that mail to the town be directed to the post office of Milan, a lot of people were resistant to change, so it wasn't until the Civil War that Milan became generally accepted.

Milan was incorporated as a village in 1885, and it became a city in 1967.

The Toledo, Ann Arbor, and North Michigan Railroad established a station in Milan in 1878, and the Wabash Railroad further linked the community with other cities and villages in 1880, when its tracks intersected the Toledo, Ann Arbor, and North Michigan Railroad. Rail traffic continues to pass through Milan, although there is no longer a station in the city.

In addition to the sawmill and flour mill that were built in the mid-1830s, additional mills were opened in Milan, most of them operated by steam and water power made possible by the Saline River. In 1936, the Ford Motor Company purchased all of the remaining mills, and others along the river west of Wabash Road, so that the company could raise the water level of the river in order to create more power for the Ford Motor Company. This endeavor created Ford Lake and rerouted the river east of Wabash. In 1937, the Ford Motor Company, with the cooperation of the village, state, and federal governments, built a new dam and the Wabash Bridge at its current location. Ford operated plants there until 1947, at which time the company's holdings were sold to the City of Milan.

Several small schools were opened in 1837 but replaced by a large school at the corner of Hurd and Ferman in 1862. This school was destroyed by fire in 1900, but replaced, operating until the school district was consolidated in 1954. Currently, Milan Area Schools serves Lenawee, Monroe, and Washtenaw counties through four campuses: Paddock Elementary School (PK-2), Symons Elementary School (3-5), Milan Middle School (6-8), and Milan High School (9-12), all of which are located within the city limits.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the city of Milan, Michigan. Online resources for the city and any other governmental entities within the city, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities, are appropriate for this category.


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