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Location of Chesaning, Michigan
|• Mayor||Joseph Sedlar|
|• Total||3.14 sq mi (8.13 km2)|
|• Land||3.05 sq mi (7.90 km2)|
|• Water||0.09 sq mi (0.23 km2)|
|Elevation||627 ft (191 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||2,362|
|• Density||784.9/sq mi (303.1/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0623168|
The first mention of Chesaning in the written pages of history is the Saginaw Treaty, signed in 1819. This treaty was between members of the Saginaw Tribe, Chippewa Indians and the government of the United States. They established a number of reservations, including 10,000 acres (40 km2) along the banks of the Shiawassee River known as "Big Rock Reserve." Chesaning is a Chippewa word meaning "big rock place". The treaty continued in effect until 1837 when a second treaty led to the reserve being surveyed and offered for sale in 1841. The first land was sold at $5 per acre to brothers Wellington and George W. Chapman, and Rufus Mason. After making their land purchase, they traveled back to Massachusetts and moved their families to their new wilderness home by late summer of 1842.
During the months they had been away from their land, several settlers had moved into the area, building a dam and a sawmill. A few years later, a grinding mill was added. The new settlers named their community "Northampton" in honor of the home they had left in Massachusetts. In 1853, the legislature changed the name to Chesaning, the traditional name for the village and township. The first township elections, held in 1847, are considered to be the official birthday of the community. The village, first surveyed in 1851, was organized in 1869. The early business community was located on the east side of the river. The forest setting provided an abundance of lumber, which was used to construct many stores. However, the use of coal heating systems often caused major fires, which destroyed entire blocks of stores. The fires and the arrival of the railroad on the west side community influenced the business area to move on the west side of the river.
The Owosso and Saginaw Navigation Company, organized in 1857 to move merchandise by barge up and down the river, began construction of a canal and lock on the east side of the dam for hauling goods on the river. The river continued to be important for commercial use until the railroad arrived in Owosso. The railroad through Chesaning, built in 1867, was first surveyed to be built approximately three miles west of Chesaning, going directly from Oakley to St. Charles. Luckily, Wellington Chapman donated $18,000, a considerable sum at the time, to the railroad to secure a rail line through Chesaning. The rail was very important to the economy of the village.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,394 people, 1,015 households, and 628 families residing in the village. The population density was 784.9 inhabitants per square mile (303.1 /km2). There were 1,129 housing units at an average density of 370.2 per square mile (142.9 /km2). The racial makeup of the village was 95.9% White, 0.6% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 1.5% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.1% of the population.
There were 1,015 households of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.2% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.1% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 2.87.
The median age in the village was 39.7 years. 24.1% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.1% were from 45 to 64; and 16.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 47.7% male and 52.3% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,548 people, 1,060 households, and 693 families residing in the village. The population density was 818.2 per square mile (316.3/km²). There were 1,126 housing units at an average density of 361.6 per square mile (139.8/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 97.80% White, 0.35% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.08% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 0.75% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.57% of the population.
There were 1,060 households out of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.4% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 30.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the village the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 27.5% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 87.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $34,952, and the median income for a family was $51,029. Males had a median income of $38,424 versus $24,635 for females. The per capita income for the village was $19,408. About 7.0% of families and 9.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.0% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
Chesaning Union Schools
Education in Chesaning had its beginnings during the summer of 1843 when a small board shanty was built on the east side of the river. Eliza Ann Smith was the first teacher. She had 11 pupils, which included her five younger brothers. The first school year was brought to an end when a heavy rainstorm flooded the building and sent the teacher and pupils fleeing to higher ground. The school moved several times over the years, until 1869, when a brick school was built for $14,000. The building was enlarged a few years later. Then a second brick school was constructed on the site of the first brick school and opened in 1918. A gymnasium was added to the school in 1938 and a few years later, a band room. The present high school opened in 1959 and had a capacity of 1,000 students. The building was later enlarged to accommodate 1,200 students. Today, the school district consists of a high school, a middle school and one elementary school. The district includes a large rural area.
Chesaning's local newspaper is the Tri-County Citizen. Founded in 1983, it is a weekly free paper delivered to over 19,000 area homes. Many residents also subscribe to The Saginaw News, The Bay City Times, the Flint Journal, or the Argus-Press out of neighboring Owosso. Three television stations have transmitting facilities located east of Chesaning, WJRT in Flint, WSMH in Flint and WAQP in Saginaw. From Chesaning, TV stations can transmit strong signals to Flint, Saginaw, Bay City and Lansing.
Chesaning Showboat Music Festival
Chesaning was known for an annual event called the Showboat. This festival was canceled in July of 2013, citing lack of funds. The Showboat Committee later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
Founded in 1937 and intended to be a vaudeville-style show, it took place for a week in July. Each night of the event a riverboat known as the Shiawassee Queen brought the evening's performers around a bend in the river and docked at an outdoor theater, allowing them to make a grand entrance prior to their performance. However, the boat was stuck in its dock downriver from the Showboat Amphitheater in more recent years. Attendance had declined in recent years, as many performers schedule multiple performances in the same area in close succession, and many fans are more interested in seeing their favorite musicians perform than in the pageantry of the showboat, and so choose to see the same musicians elsewhere. Nonetheless, it was not unusual for Showboat to draw upwards of twenty thousand people. Recent years have seen performers such as Sandi Patty, Lonestar, and Alabama grace the Showboat stage. 2006 was the 65th annual Showboat. The 2007 Showboat saw a lot of changes to its show. First the name of the Showboat was changed from the "Chesaning Showboat" to "Chesaning Showboat Music Festival". This was in part to change the image of the Showboat to attract a younger crowd, to increase attendance. This was also the first time a heavy metal rock type music had been played during the Showboat. The "Bad Boys of Rock Tour" which included the bands The Exies, Buckcherry, Papa Roach, and Hinder, turned out to be a success. Ticket sales were sold out but that didn't stop over 1000 people from sitting in their lawn chairs outside the stadium to listen to the show. Beer sales were at an all-time high and ticket sales were a record year beating out Wayne Newton, Frankie Valli and Alabama combined.
- "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
- "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Chesaning Area Web Site
- The Tri-County Citizen
- Chesaning Union Schools
- Chesaning Chamber
- Chesaning Showboat
- River Rapids District Library, formerly Chesaning Public Library