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Straddling Lodi, Pittsfield, York, and Saline townships, the City of Saline, Michigan is in south-central Washtenaw County.

The chief route through the city is US-12, which connects to Detroit, forty miles to the east. Other routes to and from the city include Ann Arbor-Saline Road, Austin Road, Bemis Road, Macon Road, Maple Road, Saline-Milan Road, Textile Road, and Willis Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Saline include Milan, Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Clinton, Barton Hills, Manchester, Britton, Dexter, Tecumseh, Dundee, and Belleville, while the unincorporated communities of Benton, Pittsfield, Lodi, Mooreville, and Mallett's Creek are within ten miles.

The Saline River, a 45.6-mile waterway, originates in Washtenaw County and flows through the cities of Saline and Milan, where it enters Monroe County, emptying into the River Raisin at Dundee. It is named for the City of Saline, once famous for its salt springs, but the river is not salty.

Although Saline was platted in 1832, it didn't show up on a census roll until 1880, when it had a population of 858. Due mainly to the demise of the railroad, the village declined to 584 by 1900 but has risen each decade since, to a population of 8,948 in 2020.

Saline was founded in 1824 by Orange Risdon, the chief surveyor of the military road from Detroit to Chicago, which became the Chicago Road, and now US Route 12. He purchased a 160-acre parcel and built a home, settling there when he returned from surveying in 1827. Meanwhile, a few other families had come the year prior. A post office was established on June 28, 1827, with Jacob Whitney as postmaster.

Risdon platted the village in 1832 and named it for the Saline River flowing through it. Saline remained an unincorporated community until 1866, however.

In 1845, Schuyler Haywood came from New Jersey and built a flour mill on the west side of the Saline River and, before long, other settlers had built a blacksmith shop, cooper shop, sawmill, windmill factory, and some stores in that area, which was known as Barnegat for a time, for the hometown of Mr. Haywood. However, the community soon became known as the Haywood addition to Saline.

Platted in 1832, Saline became a stage stop on the Chicago Road, which attracted mills and other businesses.

During the Civil War, able-bodied men were drawn into military service, resulting in a significant labor shortage. For this reason, local investments were made in agricultural equipment during the 1860s.

At the conclusion of the War, farmers in Saline and the area around it were competitive in the expanding marketplace. In order to provide a means of transporting crops to a larger market, local citizens raised money for investment in Detroit, Hillsdale, and Indiana Railroad stock. Enough money was raised to persuade the railroad to build a line between Ypsilanti and Hillsdale, passing through Saline.

After the track was completed in 1870, the Michigan Supreme Court found the investment to be unconstitutional, and ordered the railroad to return the funds. However, by that time, Saline already had a railroad, a depot, and a water tower. The railroad served the community well for nearly a century, providing an efficient means of transporting apples, wool, logs, and livestock to market, while bringing in goods to stock the shelves of local stores.

Saline was incorporated as a city in 1931. The city and surrounding region remained largely agricultural throughout the 20th century.

Today, the city has a traditional downtown centered at the intersection of Ann Arbor Street and Michigan Avenue, and there are four large industrial districts on the east side.

Saline Area Schools, headquartered at Liberty School in Saline, serves the city, Pittsfield Charter Township, and parts of York Charter Township, Lodi Township, and Saline Township. Additionally, Washtenaw Christian Academy and Saline Christian Academy offer a K-12 curriculum, and Saline Cooperative School provides a partial-day program for children between three and five years of age.

This part of our guide focuses on the City of Saline, Michigan. Topics relating to the municipal government, any other governmental bodies within the city, and local businesses, industries, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities are appropriate for this category.


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