Downtown Mason, looking West from the Town Square.
Location of Mason in Michigan.
|• Mayor||Leon Clark|
|• Total||5.13 sq mi (13.29 km2)|
|• Land||5.10 sq mi (13.21 km2)|
|• Water||0.03 sq mi (0.08 km2)|
|Elevation||919 ft (280 m)|
|• Estimate (2012)||8,248|
|• Density||1,618.0/sq mi (624.7/km2)|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-5)|
|• Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|GNIS feature ID||0631694|
Mason is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is named after the state's first governor, Stevens T. Mason. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,252. It is the county seat of Ingham County. Mason is the only city in the U.S. that serves as a county seat ahead of a state capital, with the capital of Lansing also in Ingham County. Despite Mason being the county seat, many county offices and courtrooms are located in Lansing.
In 1836 Charles Noble knew that Michigan would be seeking a central location for a new capital when it became a state. He purchased an area of forest, cleared 20 acres (81,000 m2), and founded Mason Center. The "Center" was soon dropped. In 1847, however, the state chose Lansing Township 12 miles (19 km) northward to be its capital due its potential for water power. Noble managed to make Mason the county seat instead. Ingham County's first downtown courthouse was built in 1843, and was replaced in 1858, and then again in 1905.
In 1865, Mason was incorporated as a village; in 1875 the town became a city. In the 1800s, Mason was the center of Ingham County activity, even more than was Lansing, the state capital. In 1877, Lansing attempted to take the status of county seat for itself, but the two cities made an agreement that moved some county offices and courts to Lansing in exchange for Mason remaining the county seat. As a result, Michigan is the only state in the country with a capital city that is not also a county seat.
Up into the early 1900s, the local Ojibwa tribe had a visible presence in the town. In the 1900s, The Wyeth Corporation began producing baby formula in Mason, but that was discontinued in the 1990s. Today, it is home to the headquarters of Dart Container Corporation. Lear Corporation, Gestamp Hardtech, and Ingham Intermediate School District also have facilities in the Mason area. Cattle can still be seen grazing within the city limits.
- US 127
- The Capital Area Transportation Authority (CATA) provides bus service from Lansing to Mason. Route 46 runs weekdays from downtown Lansing to the southside of Mason. The Mason Connector runs weekdays and Saturday from south Lansing to Mason.
- Jewett Field is a general aviation airport located southeast of Mason. Scheduled passenger air carrier flights are provided by Capital Region International Airport located at the northwest corner of Ingham County.
As of the census of 2010, there were 8,252 people, 3,278 households, and 2,032 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,618.0 inhabitants per square mile (624.7 /km2). There were 3,574 housing units at an average density of 700.8 per square mile (270.6 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 90.2% White, 5.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.7% of the population.
There were 3,278 households of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.0% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.91.
The median age in the city was 37.8 years. 21.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 29.5% were from 25 to 44; 25.7% were from 45 to 64; and 13.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 50.8% male and 49.2% female.
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,714 people, 2,806 households, and 1,826 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,466.6 per square mile (566.0/km²). There were 2,961 housing units at an average density of 646.8 per square mile (249.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.98% White, 0.64% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.74% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.73% of the population.
There were 2,806 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.96.
In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,790, and the median income for a family was $53,519. Males had a median income of $41,081 versus $26,266 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,866. About 1.3% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.
Points of interest
- Mason Branch of the Capital Area District Library 
- Mason Area Historical Museum 
- Mason Skate Park 
- Ingham County Fairgrounds 
- Mason Antiques District "Cobblestone Village" 
- Spartan Speedway 
Celebrations and festivals
- Down Home Days, a Thursday through Sunday festival, centered on the third Saturday in September. A variety of community activities are planned for each day. Beginning in 1973, the outdoor Courthouse Show features arts, crafts, and other booths on Saturday around the courthouse, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Spring Fling, a Thursday through Sunday festival, centered on the first Saturday in May. A variety of community activities are planned for each day. Beginning in 1983, the outdoor Courthouse Show features arts, crafts, and other booths on Saturday around the courthouse, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Ingham County Fair the first week of August. This county fair began over 155 years ago.
- Mason Steam Engine & Thresher's Club Show, a steam engine show, starting the last Friday in July.
- Mason Aviation Day at Mason Jewett Airport in mid-August, hosted by EAA Chapter 55.
- Independence Day Celebration, on the 4th of July, daytime car show around the downtown Courthouse, evening parade hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce, and twilight fireworks at the Fairgrounds.
- Mason Holidays Celebration, the Friday after Thanksgiving, features afternoon entertainment in the Mason Antiques District, downtown light parade after dark, and more, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Thursday Night Live summer outdoor concert series (weather permitting) on eight select Thursday evenings in the downtown Courthouse lawn, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
- Annual Memorial Day Parade, Veterans Day Parade, and Homecoming Parade.
- Sun Dried Music Fest the last Saturday of August, hosted by the Mason Downtown Development Authority
Famous residents and businesses
- According to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X spent part of his childhood in Mason. He was placed in a juvenile home in Mason in 1939 and completed 8th grade at Mason High School, where historical accounts indicate he received straight-"A" grades. [not in citation given] A famous anecdote of Malcolm X's life tells of a teacher who discouraged Malcolm of his dream of becoming a lawyer because of his race. However, sources vary on whether this was a Mason teacher. Malcolm was taught public speaking by Howard McCowan, a very successful lawyer in Mason.
- Former Mason resident Ltc. Amos Steele was one of the (relatively) few Union soldiers to be killed during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Steele Street and Steele Street Elementary School are named after him.
- David Feintuch, author of the acclaimed science fiction series the Seafort Saga, was a longtime resident of Mason.
- Mason is home to Kristin Haynie, a point guard with the Women's National Basketball Association. Haynie, a 2001 Mason High School graduate, was a 2005 first-round WNBA draft pick after leading Michigan State to the women's NCAA national championship game.
- Mason is home to Dart Container Corporation, the largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers in the world. Dart is known for being vertically integrated, and is one of the largest privately owned corporations in Michigan.
- John W. Longyear, a judge and politician, moved to Mason in 1844, where he taught school and studied law.
- Fernando Henderson, an Olympic swimmer for the Dominican Republic, went to Mason High School in 1984.
- Steve Clark, a Mason native, plays professional soccer in Europe.
- Courtney Allison Moulton, a 2004 graduate of Mason High School, is author of the young adult fantasy novel series Angelfire.
- Floyd Wilcox, born in Mason in 1886, was the third president of Shimer College.
- "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.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Mason, Michigan
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Schultz, Todd: Michigan History Magazine, issue January/February 2008, page 50.
- Field Manual of Soil Engineering. Michigan. State Highway Dept. 1952. p. 8. "The longest esker in Michigan is called the Mason esker and it extends from the outskirts of Lansing to a point beyond Mason"
- CATA Route 46 Mason, Limited, CATA.org, retrieved 2009-Nov-05
- Carol Reardon. ["http://www.uncpress.unc.edu/browse/book_detail?title_id=195" Pickett's Charge in History and Memory].
- The Profile. Mason High School. November 1984. p. 1. "Olympic Diver Enrolls as Student."
- "Students: 1913". The Institution Bulletin 4. p. 274.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mason, Michigan.|
- Official Website of the City of Mason
- Official Website of the Mason Mason Area Chamber of Commerce
- Official Website of the Mason Public Schools