About Monroe County, MI
As the second county created from Michigan Territory in 1817, Monroe County is one of the oldest in the area. The only county in the Wolverine State located on Lake Erie, the county contains both the River Raisin and Sandy Creek. First settled by the Powhatan people, French immigrants settled the area in the 1700s and named many local landmarks and communities after wine and grapes in hopes of creating a Michigan wine country. The county’s most famous historical resident was the famous Civil War general George Armstrong Custer, born in the county seat Monroe. In the late 1800s, many paper mills were built in the area, providing important economic stimulus and paving the way for industrialization. Monroe County became an industrial center over the 20th century, and remains a leader in manufacturing.
Over the centuries, local villages grew into towns, offering economic opportunities and a high quality of life. Though many communities in the county serve larger cities like Detroit, these communities retain their local charm and history.
Named after then-President James Monroe, the largest town in the county is also the county seat, founded in 1837 when Michigan was made a state. According to the 2010 census, the population was just over 20,000. Located minutes south of Detroit, MI and only a few miles north of Toledo, Ohio, Monroe is a local hub for transportation and a lovely bedroom community for commuters to these larger cities. There are many historical buildings in the town, as well as the Monroe County Museum, which has many exhibits celebrating the area’s long history. Municipal parks like Munson Park and Heck Park provide area residents with valuable outdoor space and children’s play areas.
Frenchtown Charter Township
The second largest township in Monroe County, Michigan is Frenchman, MI, which borders Monroe. As the site of the famous battle of Frenchtown in 1812, the town celebrates their rich history with monuments, historic buildings, and festivals. The town is home to Sterling State Park, located on Lake Erie, which provides local residents with valuable greenspace and a place to enjoy swimming, hiking, and outdoor activities.
The community of Flat Rock, MI borders both Monroe and Wayne Counties and had a 2010 population of 10,000. The town has a long, rich history stretching back to the first settlements in the area, and it was made famous by the opening of one of the first Ford Motor Company factories in 1925. Despite having rapid growth through the 20th century, many of Flat Rock’s residents can trace their lineages back to the early settler days. Flat Rock Model Train Depot & Museum is a must-see for local hobbyists and adventurous tourists.
Charter Township of Berlin
Chartered from parts of the nearby incorporated towns of Frenchman and Monroe, Berlin Charter Township had a 2010 population of just under 10,000. Considered part of the larger Monroe/Detroit Metropolitan Area, Berlin Charter Township retains a charming small town feel while serving larger cities nearby. The town offers a high quality of life with greenspace on the nearby Huron River and convenient highways like Telegraph Road, the local name for US Route 24 and Interstate Highway I-75. The nearby Pointe Mouillee State Game Area has 7,483 acres of unspoilt wilderness that’s perfect for hiking, hunting, fishing, and birdwatching.
Located in the northeastern portion of Monroe County, Ash Township, MI is a quaint small town with a 2010 population of almost 8,000. Locals also call the town Carelton, after a village in the western portion of the incorporated township. Carelton and Ash Township are located only 20 miles south of Detroit, offering residents an easy commute with beautiful small town vistas and amenities like family oriented neighborhoods and quality schools. Unity Park is the local greenspace that gives residents a place to relax, hike, picnic, and enjoy nature.
According to the 2010 Census, Dundee Township, MI had a population of 6,759 living in an area of 48 square miles, and the town includes the villages of Dundee and Diann. The town is located on the bank of the River Raisin, which residents can enjoy at Wolverine Park. Clean Water Beach is another local park and swimming area on the banks of a man-made lake that offers fun for the whole family. The Old Mill Museum, originally the Alfred Wilkerson Grist Mill, in Wolverine Park offers historical tours and information about the history of the area.
Located on the border of Monroe and Washtenaw Counties, Milan, Michigan is a quaint small town that contains a lot of beautiful parkland and community events for their residents to enjoy. Founded as the town of Farmer in 1831, the village was renamed several times by successive postmasters until it was given the name Milan because French settlers wanted to create a wine-making community in the River Raisin basin. Many local communities, such as Grape, reflect this early industry as well as native grape vines that grew along the river. The town is known more for their wealth of historic homes, many with old barns still attached.