Counties of MI-07
Located in the southwest corner of the 7th District along the U.S. 12 Heritage Route is Branch County. Branch County is rich in history and owes its name to John Branch who was the Secretary of the Navy under President Andrew Jackson. In 1847 Union City Iron Company opened its doors and began producing iron, becoming the first company to produce iron with Michigan iron ore. Like most of Branch County, Union City is a small town, with a rich history. The Victorian style architecture that still remains in Union City makes it easy to imagine the city during the turn of the century and is a must see for any history enthusiast. Among other “must see attractions” is the Capri Drive-In Theater – recognized in 2001 by the New York Times as one of the “Top 10 Drive-Ins Worth a Detour” – in Coldwater, MI.
Branch County is also known for a very unique crop: the Gladioli Flower. Several large farms specialize in growing the Gladioli Flower giving the area of Branch County the name, “The Gladiolus Capital of the United States.”
Branch County offers a number of unique opportunities, whether you are looking to experience Michigan during the beginning of the Iron boom or the small-town, rural atmosphere that makes much of the 7th Congressional District so special.
In the far north region of the 7th District is Eaton County, which is full of family friendly cities and villages that are never short on fun.
The county is named after John Eaton who was the Secretary of War under Andrew Jackson. In the 1820’s New Englanders and New Yorkers flocked to the area hoping to capitalize on the area’s agricultural potential provided by its rich soil. A unique type of sandstone, Eaton Sandstone, can be found in the community of Bellevue and the areas surrounding, as well as the halls of the State Capital Building in Lansing.
The picturesque City of Eaton Rapids—the only Eaton Rapids on earth—is located on the Grand River, with its business district presiding on an island in the middle of the river. Eaton Rapids holds many annual events in its quaint downtown.
Grand Ledge is a strong supporter of the arts with programs such as “The Heart and the Art of Grand Ledge.” Likewise, the Charlotte Performing Arts Center has enriched the community by hosting many entertaining shows from the Shanghai Circus to comedian Jeff Daniels.
Eaton County also holds Olivet College in the charming small-town of Olivet. Established in 1844, Olivet College was founded by Congregationalists, and distinguished itself as an early-leader in admitting African Americans as well as women.
Dry bean and wheat production remains the main commodity in Eaton County and the area is recognized by many as the leaders in dry beans and wheat in the State.
Whether it is for a breathtaking photo of the sandstone cliffs that emerge from the banks of the Grand River or a taste of fresh maple syrup in Vermontville, Eaton County has attractions that are sure to please.
Hillsdale County was founded in 1855 and is located in south-central Michigan, sharing a southern border with both Indiana and Ohio. With just over 46,000 residents, Hillsdale County is small in size, large in opportunities.
Hillsdale College is one of the most prestigious colleges in Michigan, and is considered by Forbes Magazine as a top college in Michigan, as well as a top-100 school nationally by U.S. News and World Report. As the first American college to ban all forms of discrimination in its charter, Hillsdale is considered by many as one of the leading universities for conservative academia, and is the alma mater of many influential conservative figures.
Hillsdale has a wide variety of businesses and industries including injection molding, shower heads and bakery supplies. With plentiful fertile land, Hillsdale also contains a number of both family-owned and commercial farms, including a branch of the Bob Evans Farm. Making use of its large open fields, Hillsdale stages a highly anticipated County Fair each year living up to its slogan, “Most Popular Fair on Earth.”
Jackson County, centrally located in the 7th District, has a bold history of community involvement. The County was influential in the Underground Railroad and in 1854, was the birthplace of the Republican Party under the oaks in Jackson.
The City of Jackson is the second largest in the 7th District with over 33,000 residents. The city was founded in 1829 and is named for President Andrew Jackson. Like other cities in the 7th District, Jackson is committed to the arts; each year hundreds of students participate in the Jackson Symphony Orchestra Music School. Jackson is also known for one of the best community colleges in the state: Jackson College.
Just outside of the city of Jackson is the charming village of Spring Arbor, which was voted in 2011 the best small town to raise kids in for Michigan by Businessweek.com. Spring Arbor’s population grows significantly every fall when students at Spring Arbor University return to begin the new school year. Spring Arbor University is repeatedly named a top-tier school by U.S. News and World Report.
Lenawee County, founded in 1822, is located in the Southeast of MI-7 and borders northern Ohio. There are a variety of businesses residing in Lenawee including Blissfield Manufacturing, Merillat Company, Adrian Steel and Wacker Chemical. People are drawn to Lenawee not just because of the business opportunities. Lenawee County is also home to Adrian College and Siena Heights University. Adrian College, in the town of Adrian, has been included among the Best Colleges for the last 4 years by U.S. News and World Report.
Also in Lenawee County, Siena Heights University was founded in 1919. Originally named St. Joseph's College for Women by the Adrian Dominican Sisters, in 1939 the college was renamed Siena Heights College after Saint Catherine of Siena. In 1969, it became coeducational and now has campuses all over the state of Michigan, including Lansing and Battle Creek.
It is not just about work in Lenawee; the County has over 50 different lakes which were featured in a 2011 edition of USA Today as ideal ice fishing locations. Lenawee is also famous for the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) - the track is shared with Jackson County; with a 2 mile long track and a capacity to seat 120,000 onlookers, MIS is a popular destination for those all over the region.
Situated in the southeast corner of MI-7, Monroe County offers Michigan’s only port on Lake Erie. The second established county in our state, Monroe County was named after our fifth president, James Monroe.
The county contains many beautiful miles of wilderness including a section of the eight square miles of a wildlife refuge known as the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge –the only international wildlife refuge in America. It has long been a manufacturing center for paper products, furniture, automobiles, and more recently, domestic energy production. The furniture company, La-Z-Boy, was founded in and is still headquartered in Monroe. The county also boasts the fourth largest nuclear power plant in America, as well as one of the largest coal-burning plants in Michigan.
Well-known Civil War Major General George Armstrong Custer called Monroe his adopted home and the area has witnessed a surprisingly vivid military legacy - from the border disputes of the Toledo War to being the site of the Battle of the River Raisin, the largest engagement of the War of 1812. Today, visitors can enjoy the walking trails and the historical exhibits of the newly established River Raisin National Battlefield Park.
It does not matter if you are discovering the wilderness in the parks of Monroe County, relaxing next to a camp fire at a local campsite, or appreciating Monroe’s deep history, there is something for you in Monroe County.
Washtenaw County has a name as unique as the county itself. There are many speculations that all lay claim to the origin of the name Washtenaw. The most accepted claim is that the name Washtenaw is an Algonquin word meaning “Far Country.”
History records show that trade was conducted between French traders and English settlers on the Potawatomi Trail and Pontiac Trail crossings of the Huron River. Ypsilanti was the site of the first successful settlement by French traders in 1809.
Like many counties in the 7th District, many prestigious colleges and universities call Washtenaw County home. The campuses of Cleary College, Concordia University, Washtenaw Community College, Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Michigan can all be found in Washtenaw County.
Whether it be the opportunity to stand in the same ground as Michigan’s earliest settlers or sing “Hail to the Victors” while cheering on the Maize and Blue, Washtenaw County offers a number of opportunities that are sure to please.