MICHIGAN SHADOW TOWN: Delta Mills, Eaton County
In the northeast corner of Eaton County, lies Delta Township. Near the upper right-hand corner of the township is an area that was – and still is – known as “Delta Mills.” The area is called a "shadow town" and it's not a bad connotation...it simply means it's a 'shadow' of what it was originally intended to become. Today, it's an extremely charming, historic place to visit.
Here is a brief, listed history of the growth of Delta Mills.....
The first settler in 1836 was Erastus Ingersoll, who constructed a water-powered sawmill that same year. A grist mill was added not long afterward.
The first dwelling was Erastus Ingersolls’ log cabin.
The first hotel was operated by E.S. Ingersoll.
The first postmaster was E.S. Ingersoll.
The first minister of the gospel was Rev. E.P. Ingersoll.
(Let's face it – the Ingersolls got around.)
In 1836 a dam was constructed on the Grand River.
In 1837 it was swept away and re-built.
The first election was held 1838.
The first child born in Delta Mills was a girl, in 1838.
The first one-room schoolhouse was built in 1839 and seated 65 children. On that site is an Historical Marker that reads:
“On this site in 1839, residents of Delta Township built their first school. A one-room wood frame structure, it could seat sixty-five. In 1940 the building was remodeled and a second classroom was added. Although the township district was annexed to the Grand Ledge School District in 1956, grades one through eight continued to be taught in the old building until 1958. That year, the old schoolhouse was replaced with a modern structure, which served students until 1982.” The school was remodeled in 1940.
The town was platted in 1841 as “Grand River City” but called “Delta Mills” by the residents, due to the economy relying on their mills. The town was flourishing, thanks to people coming from miles around to purchase flour and other items from the mills.
The first church was organized in 1851.
Delta Mills' Hillside Cemetery is a very-well kept graveyard and is located at 6415 Delta River Drive.
Today, the name “Delta Mills” doesn't show up on maps very often, but it's a pretty nice, secluded area that is part of Lansing-area history. Research shows that Delta Mill's founding fathers attempted to make it a legitimate town or city, but somehow it didn't take. However, to this day, it's a charming place to visit, rich with history, a handful of old structures, and very New England-ish, with a feel that you're in New Hampshire!
Take a drive there sometime soon and get some pics of the old Grange Hall and some of the old homes that still stand.