Adrian, Michigan

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Adrian, Michigan
City of Adrian
Downtown Adrian along Maumee Street
Downtown Adrian along Maumee Street
Location within Lenawee County
Location within Lenawee County
Adrian is located in Michigan
Location in Michigan
Adrian is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°53′47″N 84°02′16″W / 41.89639°N 84.03778°W / 41.89639; -84.03778Coordinates: 41°53′47″N 84°02′16″W / 41.89639°N 84.03778°W / 41.89639; -84.03778
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCity commission
 • MayorAngela Sword Heath
 • Total8.16 sq mi (21.12 km2)
 • Land8.01 sq mi (20.74 km2)
 • Water0.15 sq mi (0.38 km2)
787 ft (240 m)
 • Total21,133
 • Estimate 
 • Density2,572.75/sq mi (993.32/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s)517
FIPS code26-00440[4]
GNIS feature ID0619846[5]

Adrian is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Lenawee County.[6] The population was 21,133 at the 2010 census. Adrian lies in Michigan's 7th congressional district.


A copy of the original land purchase by Addison Comstock for what would become the City of Adrian, dated 10 May 1826

Adrian was founded on June 18, 1826, by Addison Comstock, and was originally named Logan.[7]

Underground Railroad[edit]

Evangelical and Hicksite Quakers in Southeast Michigan founded the first congregation of Quakers in Michigan in 1831. They also created a network of Underground Railroad stations in the Raisin River Valley. Daniel Smith was the first leader of the Raisin Valley Friends Meeting House. His daughter, Laura Smith Haviland became one of the most prominent equal rights activists and Underground Railroad operators in the nation.[8] Elizabeth Margaret Chandler established the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society in October 1832. Chandler’s society preceded the Female Anti-Slavery Society in Philadelphia and the Michigan statewide organization.[8] The Adrian-Tecumseh Underground Railroad network was established by a Baptist Reverend at the northern tip of Lenawee County.[8]

The only remaining piece of the Bank of Pennsylvania— one of the stone pillars — was moved to Adrian, Michigan and erected as the Civil War Memorial in commemoration of those in Adrian who died in the American Civil War.

The Erie & Kalamazoo Rail Road Bank was chartered by the Territory of Michigan and opened in the village of Adrian in 1835.[9]

In the late 19th century through early 20th century Adrian was known as the "fence capital of the world," when J. Wallace Page invented the first successful wire fence. Throughout this period, Adrian was one of the first fencing manufacturers in the world and its fences were shipped as far as New York, Berlin, Asia, and Africa. The company sponsored the highly successful Page Fence Giants black baseball team.

One of the first motor vehicles, the Lion automobile, was created in Adrian. Between 1900 and 1912, Adrian was shaping up to be one of the motor capitals of the world, with three car models manufactured in Adrian during those 12 years. But due to some unfortunate turn of events, it never came to be.

The first two were the Murry Motor Car and Lenawee Car: both made by the Church Manufacturing Company. Although the cars were a hit at the 1910 Chicago Automobile show and they sold hundreds of cars, due to bad financial decisions the Church Manufacturing Company ran out of money and had to close.

The third car manufactured in Adrian was the Lion made by the Lion Motor Car Company. The Lion was immensely popular and successful; Lion Motor Car Company was taking the lead in the auto industry. However, on June 12, 1912, the plant caught on fire, destroyed about 200 cars, and ultimately ended the company.

Culture and life[edit]

Adrian is approximately 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Ann Arbor, 30 miles (48 km) southeast of Jackson, and 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Toledo, Ohio. A portion of the city is on the border between Adrian Township and Madison Charter Township, although the city is politically independent of both. The city's urban area extends beyond the city limits into both of those townships as well as into nearby Raisin Township and Palmyra Township.

Adrian is sometimes referred to as "the Maple City" due in part to the many sugar maple and other maple tree species found throughout the city. The Adrian High School sports teams are known as the "Adrian Maples" and several local businesses use maple in their names.

Adrian's cultural life has connections to the mid-19th century. The Adrian City Band is one of the oldest continuously active community bands in the country, founded in 1836. Also of historical note is the Croswell Opera House. The Adrian Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1981. Adrian College and Siena Heights University also offer many cultural opportunities.

Heritage Park and Trestle Park have extensive mountain bike trails and boardwalks along the river. Trestle Park features a pedestrian walkway along a former railroad trestle.[10]


Aerial photo of Adrian, 2014

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.10 square miles (20.98 km2), of which 7.95 square miles (20.59 km2) is land and 0.15 square miles (0.39 km2) is water.[11]

The town is approximately 15 miles (24 km) southeast of the Irish Hills area of Michigan, an area known for its many lakes and rolling hills, and home to the Irish Famine Memorial and Michigan International Speedway. Many town residents take advantage of this area for boating and recreation. Devils Lake, Round Lake, Posey Lake and Wamplers Lake are popular weekend destinations within a few miles.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)20,600[3]−2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 21,133 people, 7,831 households, and 4,531 families living in the city. The population density was 2,658.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,026.3/km2). There were 8,977 housing units at an average density of 1,129.2 per square mile (436.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.1% White, 4.4% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 5.9% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.8% of the population.

There were 7,831 households, of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.8% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.1% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 3.06.

The median age in the city was 32.5 years. 23% of residents were under the age of 18; 17.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.5% were from 25 to 44; 22.1% were from 45 to 64; and 14.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 21,574 people, 7,908 households, and 4,855 families living in the city. The population density was 3,023.5 per square mile (1,166.6/km2). There were 8,498 housing units at an average density of 1,191.0 per square mile (459.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.47% White, 3.52% Black, 0.62% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.2%, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 7.72% from other races, and 2.83% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.99% of the population.

There were 7,908 households, out of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 15.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.3% under the age of 18, 15.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 87.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $32,405, and the median income for a family was $42,069. Males had a median income of $31,500 versus $23,359 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,528. About 9.8% of families and 13.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.5% of those under age 18 and 19.8% of those age 65 or over.

Government and politics[edit]

Lenawee County Courthouse in Adrian

Adrian is run by a city commission headed by a mayor. In November 2019, Angela Sword Heath defeated Shane Mackey to become the city's first female mayor.[13] Its sister city is Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. While Lenawee County is a close county that leans Republican, elections in Adrian are close but lean Democratic. The three voting precincts on Adrian's east side are more Democratic than the three on Adrian's west side.


Top employers[edit]

According to Adrian's 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[14] the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of Employees
1 Bixby Medical Center 1,300
2 Lenawee County 500
3 Adrian Mall 487
4 Adrian Public Schools 435
5 Meijer 400
6 Lenawee Intermediate School District 380
7 Adrian Steel Company 345
8 Adrian Dominican Sisters 344
9 Inergy 325
10 Adrian College 275
11 Venchurs 220
12 Siena Heights University 215
13 Inteva Products 195
14 Lenawee Medical Care Facility 193
15 Lenawee Christian Ministries 156
16 Lowe's 136
17 Lenawee Christian School 128
18 City of Adrian 127
19 Anderson Development Company 125


Herrick Tower, Adrian College

Adrian Public Schools serves Adrian and the surrounding area.

St. Stephen Lutheran School is a Christian PreK-8 school of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod in Adrian.[15][16]

There are three colleges and universities in the city, namely:


The Daily Telegram is Adrian's local daily newspaper which covers the entire county.

Local radio stations include WABJ 1490 AM (mainly syndicated talk); WLEN – 103.9 and 96.5 FM (news); WQTE 95.3 FM (country music); and WVAC 107.9 FM (student-operated radio from Adrian College). WBCL in Fort Wayne also operates a translator FM station in Adrian at 97.7.

Adrian is also served by radio and television signals from Ann Arbor, Toledo, and Jackson, and some Detroit broadcasters can also be seen or heard in parts of the area.

Notable people[edit]

Major highways[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Adrian, Michigan
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  7. ^ Knapp, John; Bonner, Richard (1903). Illustrated history and biographical record of Lenawee County, Michigan. Adrian, Michigan: The Times Printing Company. pp. 68–69.
  8. ^ a b c Mull, Carole E. (2010). The Underground Railroad in Michigan. Jefferson, North Carolina, and London: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-7864-4638-4.
  9. ^ Laws of the territory of Michigan. 3. Lansing, Michigan: W. S. George & Co. 1874. pp. 1392–1397.
  10. ^ "Adrian Parks: 2 Parks & Gardens in Adrian, Michigan".
  11. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ Durham, Spencer. "Heath tops Mackey in Adrian's mayor race". The Daily Telegram - Adrian, MI. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  14. ^ "2011-2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). City of Adrian Department of Finance (For the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2012 ed.). Government Finance Officers Association. p. 192. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  15. ^ "Welcome to St. Stephen! - school".
  16. ^ "Welcome to St. Stephen! - contact".
  17. ^ "Adrian College". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  18. ^ "Welcome – Siena Heights University". Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  19. ^ "Home - Jackson College". Jackson College. Retrieved 6 April 2018.

External links[edit]