Information About our
Community & Our History
of this community is FAMILY! Only 25 miles south of Lansing, 15 miles
north of Jackson, and 45 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, Leslie is a small
rural community surrounded by family farms with family run businesses in
A sense of "community" is very strong with projects like the Russell Park Playscape which was built by the entire community, and the renovation of Tuttle Park which was made possible by a generous hometown benefactor. Other projects include a NEW softball field, a NEW library, and a NEW high school with the latest technology.
The latest population figures show the number of residents to be 2,180. Recreational facilities include 2 public parks, a picnic pavilion, a basketball court, seasonal public swimming pools and an ice skating area.
Leslie and Leslie Township were inhabited by native American Potawatomi and Chippewa people when the white man first came. The township was surveyed and subdivided in 1824-1826 and was named Leslie by Dr. J. A. Cornell of Spring Arbor, a member of the Legislature, in honor of a family he had known in New York State.
Early settlers came here by way of the Erie Canal, Detroit, and overland from Ohio. Their roads were old Indian trails and the most difficult part of the journey was usually crossing the Grand River as there was only a floating bridge. The bridge could not be crossed with a loaded wagon, so their supplies had to be carried across and then reloaded.
In March of 1836, the first log cabin was built on Bellevue Street near Huntoon Creek by Elijah Woodworth. Henry Meeker soon built a log house near where the Methodist Church now stands. His two daughters came with their families, and his son, Dr. Valorous Meeker, settled nearby. For a time the town was known as Meekersville.
Other early sellers included: Jacob Armstrong, Benjamin Davis, David Dwight, Calvin Edwards, Clark Graves,
K. Grout, Homer King, Lester Miner, Joseph Nims, Josiah Rice, James
Royston, Sidney O. Russell, Washington Scovil, John Tuttle, and Amos
Wortman. Many of the names of these early settlers remain with us today
in the names of streets, roads, schools, and other buildings.
The first church, The Methodist Society, was formed in 1837. This was followed by The First Baptist Church in April of 1839 and the Congregational Church in February of 1843. In addition to these, Leslie is now served by several other churches including the Assembly of God Church, The Bible Baptist Church, Flower Memorial Spiritualist Church, Bunker Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church, Grace Lutheran Church, and Sts. Cornelius & Cyprian Catholic Church.
In 1838, a post office was established with Henry Fiske as the first postmaster. The mail came by horseback, then by stagecoach, and then in 1865 it came by train. The Dennis Building, on the west side of Main Street, was used for the post office until the present one was built on the corner of Main and Carney Streets in 1961. The township has had a rural delivery since 1900.
In 1837, the first school was built in Leslie Township near the Congregational Church. Stillman Rice was the first teacher and the budget for the school in 1842 was $20.84. There were 65 students at that time. Today, Leslie Public Schools serve some 1,500 students along with The White Pine Academy, a tuition free charter school in Leslie.
Early businesses included sawmills, a grist mill, stove factory, washing machine factory, cooper's shop, and wagon shop. Other businesses in the community over the years have included two department stores, a telephone company, a bank, funeral homes, hotels, a brick factory, shoe shop, blacksmith, creamery, nursery, etc.
The first newspaper was the "Leslie Herald" organized in 1869. It was later renamed "Leslie Local", then "The Local Republican", and is now known as "The Leslie Local-Independent".
Did you know...
located just off US-127, 15 minutes south of I-96, north of I-94, east
of M-99 and west of M-50?
...Leslie has award winning schools, Leslie Public, and White Pine Academy?
..Leslie has a community pool, several parks, ball fields, pavilions, tennis courts and basketball courts for outside activities?
...Leslie has fabulous specialty shops including: Tecla's Art School and Gallery, The Cedar Loft featuring custom log furniture, Angels Among Us with gifts and inspiration, Grin and Bear It with over 2000 teddy bears, Celtic Corners Miniatures and Doll Houses, Main Street Antique Mall, The Stitching Post for
and screen-printing, The Baker's Shoppe - the home of "The Kringle",
Mitchell's your Carhart headquarters and featuring a big and tall
section, Welcome Pharmacy featuring scrap-booking supplies, Tropical
Bridal Shop and Accessories, Art Creations with lighthouses and such,
Vic's Motorcycle Shop & Pickin' Parlour, and The Dressmaker's Shop
with Victorian reproductions?
...Leslie has wonderful places to eat including: The Depot with the best breakfast around and more, Marco's with pizza, subs, and salads, Crossroads Bar and Grill with live entertainment, Dave's Place with pizza, subs and homemade specials, and McDonald's featuring a drive-through and a dining room?
Whether you're looking for a great place to live or a neat place to visit, think:
"Leslie Is The Place To Be"
For a copy of "The Leslie Resource Guide"
call Maple Grove Properties at 800-204-2202.
© 2005 by Maple Grove Properties.