Looking Glass River

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Looking Glass River
From kayak.jpg
The river in A Looking Glass Sanctuary, a nature preserve in Clinton County
Looking Glass River Map
Physical characteristics
 ⁃ locationConway Township, Livingston County, Michigan, US
 ⁃ coordinates42°45′16″N 84°07′40″W / 42.754581°N 84.12773°W / 42.754581; -84.12773
 ⁃ location
Portland, Michigan, US
 ⁃ coordinates
42°52′17″N 84°54′08″W / 42.871252°N 84.90221°W / 42.871252; -84.90221Coordinates: 42°52′17″N 84°54′08″W / 42.871252°N 84.90221°W / 42.871252; -84.90221
Length71 mi (114 km)
Basin features
ProgressionGrand RiverLake Michigan

The Looking Glass River in the U.S. state of Michigan is a river flowing through the central region of the Lower Peninsula. It is about 71 miles (114 km) long,[1] has no dams, and borders many wetlands and woodlots.[2]


Nineteenth-century sources have transcribed the alternate name of Wabenasebee for the river.[3] That name may refer to the large Chippewa settlement of Wabwahnahseepee that had existed, just north of modern De Witt, when European settlers first arrived.[4]


It rises in Conway Township in northeast Livingston County and flows north into Shiawassee County, passing between Morrice and Bancroft as it turns westward and passes just south of Laingsburg on the western edge of Shiawassee. It then runs through the southern portion of Clinton County, including DeWitt. It flows into the Grand River in Portland in southeast Ionia County.

The stream starts as a slow soft-bottom waterway. On the 25 miles (40 km) between the Livingston County line and Laingsburg the river averages 10 to 18 feet (3.0 to 5.5 m) wide. There is more activity in the lower stretch below DeWitt, where there is good fishing and canoeing.[5]

Settlement history[edit]

The earliest known settlers of the Looking Glass Watershed were the Sauk people who were eventually replaced by people of the Chippewa and Ottawa tribes. The area was highly regarded for its abundance of game and fish. White settlers came to the area following trails up the Flint and Shiawassee rivers inland from Detroit and Port Huron.[6]


In Clinton County, the river flows through the A Looking Glass Sanctuary, a 13-acre (5.3 ha) nature preserve owned by the Michigan Nature Association.[7]


  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite, accessed May 19, 2011
  2. ^ Friends of The Looking Glass River Archived 2010-11-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Blois, John T. (1979) [1838]. 1838 Gazeteer of the State of Michigan (reprint). Knightstown, Indiana: reprint by The Bookmark. p. 314.
  4. ^ Franklin, Ellis (1880). History of Shiawassee and Clinton Counties. Philadelphia, PA: DW Ensign and Co. p. 13.
  5. ^ "Looking Glass Watershed Map" (PDF). Friends of the Looking Glass River. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-04-07.
  6. ^ "Looking Glass River Watershed Handbook, Appendix B" (PDF). http://www.lookingglassriverfriends.org. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-11-03. External link in |website= (help)
  7. ^ A Looking Glass Sanctuary Michigan Nature Association