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Situated mostly in southeast Meridian Charter Township, with a portion extending south into Alaiedon Township and east into Williamston Township, Okemos, Michigan is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in north Ingham County.

I-96 serves as the southern boundary of the CDP, while South Hagadorn Road, the Michigan State University campus, and the city of East Lansing forms its western boundary. Other routes through the CDP include I-43 (Grand River Avenue).

Besides East Lansing, which abuts the CDP, other cities and villages within twenty miles of Okemos include Williamston, Lansing, Mason, Webberville, Laingsburg, DeWitt, Dansville, Dimondale, Perry, Morrice, and Fowlerville. Haslett, a census-designated place, abuts Okemos to the north.

Although unincorporated, Okemos has its own post offices, within the 48805 and 48864 zip codes, as well as its own school district, Okemos Public Schools, which serves about two-thirds of Meridian Township and parts of Alaiedon and Williamston townships.

Originally an agricultural community, today the Lansing suburb is home to employees of Michigan State University.

Flowing largely northwest, the Red Cedar River bisects the CDP diagonally. A tributary of the Grand River, the Red Cedar River is just over fifty miles long, and named for the juniper trees that grew along its banks, which are commonly known as red cedar. Until 1962, the river was named Cedar River on federal maps, although it was known as Red Cedar River locally. Beginning at Cedar Lake, in southern Livingston County, the Red Cedar River flows through the MSU campus before reaching the Grand River in Lansing.

The first recorded European-American settler in the area that was to become Okemos was Sanford Marsh, who came in 1839. On April 8 of the following year, a post office was established in the growing community, and named Sanford, with Joseph K. Kilborn as postmaster.

A townsite was platted by Freeman Bray in 1840 and 1841, and named Hamilton, for Alexander Hamilton. Until 1862, the town was known as Hamilton, while its post office was Sanford.

Meanwhile, residents began referring to the town as Okemos, for John Okemos, an Ojibwa chief who was a signatory of the Treaty of Saginaw, and was the leader of the multiple Ojibwa bands who lived south of the Red Cedar River. On May 26, 1862, both the town and post office were renamed Okemos.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the community and census-designated place known as Okemos, Michigan. Online resources for local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities are appropriate for this category.


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