Michigan played a key role in the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes and safe houses used by slaves to escape to freedom in the 19th century. Detroit was an important hub for the movement, and Michigan was the first state in the Northwest Territory to outlaw slavery in 1837.
Lapeer County, located in southeastern Michigan, has a rich history that dates back to the early 19th century. The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Ojibwa and Potawatomi, who utilized the land for hunting and gathering. In the early 1800s, however, European settlers began to arrive in the region.

In 1820, Lapeer County was established by the Michigan Territorial Legislature. The county was named after the French word "la pierre," meaning "the flint," as the region was known for its abundance of flint rock. The county's proximity to the Flint River and its fertile soil made it an attractive area for agriculture.

During the mid-19th century, Lapeer County experienced significant growth and development. The construction of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in the 1850s helped connect the county to the rest of the state, facilitating the transportation of goods and people. Lapeer, the county seat, became a thriving center of commerce and industry, with sawmills, gristmills, and other businesses supporting the local economy.

In the late 1800s, the county saw a series of economic booms and downturns. The lumber industry, which had been a major contributor to the local economy, began to decline due to overlogging. However, the discovery of natural gas in the late 19th century led to a new era of growth, especially in the city of North Branch. The advent of automobiles and the subsequent establishment of General Motors plants further contributed to the county's economic development.

Today, Lapeer County is a vibrant community that blends its rich history with modern amenities. It is home to a diverse population and offers a range of recreational opportunities, including parks, lakes, and trails. The county continues to value its agricultural heritage, with many farms and orchards dotting the landscape. As a testament to its history, Lapeer County's charming downtown areas and historic landmarks serve as reminders of its past while embracing the future.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Lapeer County, Michigan.

  • 1837 - Lapeer County is established and named after the French word "la pierre," meaning "the flint."
  • 1840 - Lapeer becomes the first county seat.
  • 1845 - The first courthouse is built in Lapeer.
  • 1873 - The county seat is moved from Lapeer to the newly established city of Port Huron.
  • 1874 - The county seat is moved back to Lapeer due to dissatisfaction with Port Huron's location.
  • 1980 - The Lapeer County Historic Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1996 - The first annual Lapeer Days festival is held, attracting thousands of visitors.
  • 2001 - The Lapeer County Commissioners vote to build a new county jail, replacing the outdated and overcrowded facility.
  • 2014 - A major renovation of downtown Lapeer begins, revitalizing the area and attracting new businesses.
  • 2018 - Lapeer County celebrates its 180th anniversary.