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Marshall, Michigan

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Marshall, Michigan
Downtown Marshall
Downtown Marshall
Location of Marshall, Michigan
Location of Marshall, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°16′14″N 84°57′36″W / 42.27056°N 84.96000°W / 42.27056; -84.96000
CountryUnited States
Incorporated1836 (village)
1849 (city)
 • MayorJames Schwartz[1]
 • Total6.61 sq mi (17.12 km2)
 • Land6.49 sq mi (16.82 km2)
 • Water0.12 sq mi (0.30 km2)
919 ft (280 m)
 • Total6,822
 • Density1,050.67/sq mi (405.66/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code269
FIPS code26-51940[3]
GNIS feature ID631630[4]

Marshall is a city and the county seat of Calhoun County, Michigan.[5] The population was 6,822 at the 2020 census.

Marshall is best known for its cross-section of 19th- and early 20th-century architecture and as the future home of Ford Motor Company's BlueOval Battery Park.[6] It has been referred to by the keeper of the National Register of Historic Places as a "virtual textbook of 19th-Century American architecture." Its historic center is the Marshall Historic District, one of the nation's largest architecturally significant National Historic Landmark Districts. The Landmark has over 850 buildings, including the Honolulu House.



The town was founded by Sidney Ketchum (1797–1862) in 1830,[7] a land surveyor born in Clinton County, New York, in conjunction with his brother, George Ketchum (1794-1853). The Ketchum brothers explored central lower Michigan in 1830, and in late 1830, Sidney Ketchum obtained government grants for the land on which most of Marshall now stands. The early settlers named the community in honor of Chief Justice of the United States John Marshall from Virginia—whom they greatly admired. This occurred five years before Marshall's death and thus was the first of dozens of communities and counties named for him.[8] The village of Marshall was incorporated March 28, 1836.

Marshall was thought to be the frontrunner for state capital, so much so that a Governor's Mansion was built, but the town lost by one vote to Lansing[citation needed]. In the years thereafter, Marshall became known for its patent medicine industry until the Pure Drug Act of 1906. Marshall was involved in the Underground Railroad. When escaped slave Adam Crosswhite fled Kentucky and settled in Marshall with his wife and three children, the people of the town hid him from the posse sent to retrieve him. Those involved were tried in Federal Court and found guilty of denying a man his rightful property. This case and others like it caused the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 to be pushed through Congress.

Stand against slavery


In 1843, Adam Crosswhite,[9] his wife Sarah and their four children ran away from Francis Giltner's plantation in Hunter's Bottom, Carroll County, Kentucky because the Crosswhites learned that one of their four children was to be sold.[10] The Crosswhites made the tough journey north through Indiana along the Underground Railroad, beginning in Madison, Indiana. They finally settled in Marshall, where they were accepted, and Adam worked and built a cabin.[9]

In response to increasing numbers of runaway slaves, a coalition of slave owners in the north central counties and the Bluegrass region of Kentucky organized to recover the runaways. In January 1846, Francis Giltner's son David Giltner and three others went to Marshall to capture the Crosswhite family.[9]

On the morning of January 26, 1847, as the slave catchers and a local deputy sheriff were pounding on Adam's door, his neighbors heard the noise and came running. The cry of "slave catchers!" was yelled through the streets of Marshall. Soon, over 100 people surrounded the Crosswhite home.

Threats were shouted back and forth. One of the slave catchers began to demand that people in the crowd give him their names. They were proud to tell him and even told him the correct spelling. Each name was written down in a little book. Finally, the deputy sheriff, swayed by the crowd's opinion, decided he should arrest the men from Kentucky instead. Marshall townspeople hid the Crosswhites in the attic of George Ingersoll's mill. By the time the slave catchers could post bond and get out of jail, Isaac Jacobs, the hostler at the Marshall House, had hired a covered wagon and driven the Crosswhites to Jackson where they boarded a train to Detroit and then crossed over into Canada.[9]

The Giltners sued some of the people from Marshall for damages in what is known in federal records as the Giltner v. Gorham case. It was tried in the federal court in Detroit. The Giltner v Gorham case resulted in two trials in federal court in Detroit, the first trial ending in a hung jury. At the conclusion of the second trial, the sole remaining defendant in the case, local banker Charles T. Gorham, was ordered to pay the value of the slaves plus court costs.[11] To curry political favor, Detroit entrepreneur Zachariah Chandler supposedly stepped in to pay these costs on Gorham's behalf.[12]

Because of the Crosswhite Affair and many others like it, Sen. Henry Clay from Kentucky pushed a new law through Congress in 1850 known as the Fugitive Slave Law, which made it very risky for anyone to help an escaped slave.[13]

Two Marshall citizens Rev. John D. Pierce and lawyer Isaac E. Crary, innovated the Michigan school system and established it as part of the state constitution. Their method and format were later adopted by all the states in the old Northwest Territory and became the foundation for the Morrill Land-Grant Act in 1862, which established schools like Michigan State University all over the country. Pierce became the country's first state superintendent of public instruction and Crary Michigan's first member of the U.S. House.[8]

Railroad Significance


The first railroad labor union in the U.S., The Brotherhood of the Footboard (later renamed the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen), was formed in Marshall in 1863. Marshall was one of the only stops between Chicago and Detroit and became known as the Chicken Pie city because the only thing one could get to eat in the time it took to cool and switch engines was a chicken pie. A replica of the city's roundhouse can be seen at the Greenfield Village outdoor living history museum in Dearborn, Michigan.

Enbridge Oil Spill


In July 2010, an oil pipeline, owned by Enbridge Energy, ruptured, spilling over 850,000 gallons of crude oil into Talmadge Creek and into the Kalamazoo River. The event received national attention as it was, at that time, the largest oil spill in the inside the United States. The event was known as the Kalamazoo River Oil Spill.

In 2012, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board stated the Enbridge oil spill in the Kalamazoo River near Marshall was the costliest onshore cleanup in U.S. history.[14]

Marshall Industrial Development - Ford


In 1968, a large tract of land in Marshall Township, approximately 800 acres, was rezoned to D-2 Park Industrial.[15] The rezoning was sought by Flint industrial real estate developer Robert Gerholz. Gerholtz, a former president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, chose the property because of 4 advantages: 1) proximity to the I-94 & I-69 interchange, 2) access to the railroad, 3) access to hard surface road open to industrial truck travel year-round, and 4) proximity to the Kalamazoo River.[16] Over 140 people turned out for rezoning hearing. It was pointed out at the hearing that the 800 acres fully developed with industry could furnish a 100-million-dollar tax base which was about 3 times the tax base was at that time. Among the people at the hearing were representatives from Marshall City Schools, city and county officials, county road commission, Marshall businesses, and manufacturing plants including Consumers Power Company.[17]

In the years after the rezoning there was regular interest in developing the parcel for a large industrial development. In January 1997 the Gerholtz property was recognized by the Marshall Chamber of Commerce as having "statewide and national attention as one of the best locations in Michigan for large scale industrial development."[18] Volkswagen AG expressed interest in developing a manufacturing plant on the Gerholtz property in 2008. Accordingly, the Marshall City attorney obtained several options for property surrounding the larger parcel as would be needed for the preliminary site plannings as the Gerholtz property alone was not large enough. A lack of short-term site readiness for construction caused Volkswagen to shift attention to other potential development.

In late 2021 the State of Michigan pushed for the creation of a 100-million-dollar fund for industrial development on large tracts of land after Tennessee and Kentucky landed $11.4 billion in investments from the Ford Motor Company and a battery manufacturer. The site was the subject of planning, and it was anticipated that these funds would be used to develop an industrial master plan and traffic impact studies.[19]

In September 2022, the Marshall Area Economic Development Alliance (MAEDA) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation began promoting the "Marshall Megasite" to industrial manufacturers but did not disclose their plan to the general public. Notices were not sent to Marshall Township residents immediately adjacent to on in close proximity to the project. At the time the proposed development area encompassed up to 1,600 acres of rural land (owned by separate landowners and just under 800 acres of which had previously been zoned D-2 Park Industrial) located in Marshall Township just outside Marshall's city limits.[20] The move was controversial as the land was not yet zoned for heavy industry with the majority, over 1000 acres was zoned agricultural.

Marshall Township Residents were informed that a large industrial project was to take place in their community via the announcement of PA 425 Land Transfers to take place in January 2023. There was vocal public opposition to the land transfers, which would take 1,900 acres off of the Marshall Township Tax rolls and put them on the City of Marshall Tax rolls of which a percentage would go back to Marshall Township per the Master PA 425. The transfer enabled the megasite to have access to city utilities such as water and electricity. The Marshall Township Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 for the PA 425 land transfers. The Marshall City Council voted for the transfer as well, although there was significant public opposition to the project.[21][22][23][24]

Located on the Marshall Megasite

In February 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Ford Motor Company announced the Marshall Megasite would become the site of Ford BlueOval Battery Park.[25] The zoning changes on the property to allow for heavy industry were not made until May 1, 2023 by the Marshall City Council.[26] Residents filed a petition for referendum on the zoning and their petition was rejected by the Marshall City Clerk and the Marshall City Council Members. A lawsuit was filed against the City by the ballot committee named "Committee for Marshall-Not the Megasite" [27] The lawsuit was dismissed by the Circuit Court in early January 2024.[28] The Committee for Marshall-Not the Megasite have filed an appeal.[29] This committee was countersued by a committee with ties to Governor Whitmer's campaign committee.[30]



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.40 square miles (16.58 km2), of which 6.28 square miles (16.27 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.[31]


Historical population
Source: Census Bureau. Census 1960- 2000, 2010.

Marshall is part of the Battle Creek, Michigan Metropolitan Statistical Area.

2010 census


As of the census[32] of 2010, there were 7,088 people, 3,092 households, and 1,840 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,128.7 inhabitants per square mile (435.8/km2). There were 3,394 housing units at an average density of 540.4 per square mile (208.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.1% White, 1.1% African American, 0.6% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.8% of the population.

There were 3,092 households, of which 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.2% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.5% were non-families. 34.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 40.5 years. 24% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.8% were from 25 to 44; 26.3% were from 45 to 64; and 18.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

2000 census


As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 7,459 people, 3,111 households, and 1,935 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,260.7 inhabitants per square mile (486.8/km2). There were 3,353 housing units at an average density of 566.7 per square mile (218.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.91% White, 0.32% African American, 0.43% Native American, 0.59% Asian, 0.99% from other races, and 1.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.16% of the population.

There were 3,111 households, out of which 30.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.5% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.8% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.0% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 28.2% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 18.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,171, and the median income for a family was $53,317. Males had a median income of $41,446 versus $30,398 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,101. About 2.6% of families and 5.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.2% of those under age 18 and 3.9% of those age 65 or over.


  • The Calhoun County Fair is the oldest operating County Fair in Michigan. Operated by the Calhoun County Agricultural and Industrial Society, the fair takes place during the second week in August. Floral Hall, located on the grounds is the oldest fair building in the state. Marshall maintains its strong agricultural ties with a large number of students involved in FFA and 4-H.
  • The Marshall Historic Home Tour, the oldest historic home tour in the Great Lakes area, is held annually the weekend after Labor Day. The tour features eight private historic homes, a church, a business, and eight museums open for the two days of the tour. There is also musical entertainment, a juried craft show, and a Civil War Ball with elaborate costumes on Saturday night. The tour, now in its 50th year, is presented by the Marshall Historical Society.
  • Cruise to the Fountain features about 1,000 classic cars from the 1950s and 1960s the weekend before the Fourth of July at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds. On Friday and Saturday nights the cars cruise from the Fairgrounds through the downtown, around the Brooks Memorial Fountain and back.
  • Blues Fest is held each June, with blues musicians from all over the Midwest performing downtown, complete with food vendors and a beer tent.
  • Skeleton Fest held the last Saturday in September, over 30 whimsically posed skeletons take over the downtown area. There is a free, family-friendly kick-off party for the kids, followed by a Pub & Grub crawl for the adults.
  • The Monday after Thanksgiving is the date of the annual Christmas Parade. There are typically over 100 entries for this parade. It averages 6–10 bands and 20-40 floats. Santa's arrival to Marshall is always the highlight of this event.
  • Marshall Historical Society's Christmas Candlelight Walk features five private homes on tour in a small group setting. Limited tickets are sold for Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening walks. The Walk, now in its 40th year, is held annually in early December.
  • On the second weekend in June and first weekend in October, the Fiber Arts & Animals Festival is held. This festival has been held since 2005.[33]



Major highways


Public Transportation




Brooks Field is a non-towered General Aviation airfield owned and operated by the city of Marshall. The airport features a single runway (10/28) 3500 x 75 feet, helipad, public and private hangars, lighted wind indicator, segmented circle, compass rose, and a tie down apron.

Notable people


Notable businesses


Museums and historical markers


There are many recognized Michigan historical markers in Marshall,[47] including


  1. ^ "City of Marshall Website". Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Detroit News". www.detroitnews.com. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  7. ^ Pardoe, Debbie; Collins, Susan (2008). Marshall. Charleston SC, Chicago IL, Portsmouth NH, San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9780738552347. Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  8. ^ a b City of Marshall, Michigan
  9. ^ a b c d Smith, G.L.; McDaniel, K.C.; Hardin, J.A. (2015). The Kentucky African American Encyclopedia. University Press of Kentucky. p. 128. ISBN 978-0-8131-6066-5. Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  10. ^ "160 years ago, Marshall residents united to save a family from slave catchers". Michigan Radio. June 13, 2018. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  11. ^ "GILTNER V. GORHAM ET AL. Case No. 5,453" (PDF). law.resource.org. 1848. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 25, 2020. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  12. ^ Clark, Sandra; Michigan Center (June 13, 2018). "160 years ago, Marshall residents united to save a family from slave catchers". www.michiganradio.org. Retrieved March 25, 2021.
  13. ^ Chardavoyne, David G. (November 2004). "Michigan and the Fugitive Slave Acts" (PDF). The Court Legacy. Vol. XII, no. 3. The Historical Society for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2006. Retrieved June 28, 2007.
  14. ^ "Enbridge to Spend Up to $500 Million More on Northern Gateway Safety". Fox Business. Retrieved July 22, 2012.[dead link]
  15. ^ "Rigid Restrictions Set Up for Rezoned District". Marshall Evening Chronicle. April 30, 1968. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  16. ^ "Industrial Real Estate Developer Seeks Rezoning Of 800 Acres Of Land". Marshall Evening Chronicle. January 2, 1968. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  17. ^ "No Decision Reached On Rezoning Request". Marshall Evening Chronicle. January 5, 1968. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  18. ^ "Marshall Chamber Update". January 28, 1997. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  19. ^ Chad Livengood (October 3, 2021). "Shovel-ready state? Push on for site-prep money after Ford plants head south". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  20. ^ "'Marshall Megasite' garners interest from manufacturing companies". WOODTV.com. September 8, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2023.
  21. ^ Megasite - Township Residents speak against Ford's BlueOval Battery Park at Public Hearing pt1, retrieved November 27, 2023
  22. ^ "'We've built our life here': Marshall-area residents voice concerns about megasite development". Battle Creek Enquirer. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  23. ^ Residents push back on proposed 'Marshall Megasite', retrieved November 27, 2023
  24. ^ "Marshall Township Residents Speak Against the Marshall Megasite". Stop the Marshall Michigan Megasite!. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  25. ^ "Whitmer celebrates new Ford battery plant in Michigan backed by state support valued over $1B". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  26. ^ "Marshall City Council rezones land for Ford's electric vehicle battery plant". WWMT. May 1, 2023. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  27. ^ "Opponents sue to stop Marshall Megasite". WOODTV.com. June 27, 2023. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  28. ^ "'Remaining on track': Judge dismisses Ford Marshall plant lawsuit". WOODTV.com. January 10, 2024. Retrieved January 27, 2024.
  29. ^ "Committee For Marshall-Not The Megasite V City Of Marshall (Order)". Justia Law. Retrieved March 16, 2024.
  30. ^ "Detroit Free Press". www.freep.com. Retrieved November 27, 2023.
  31. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 2, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  32. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  33. ^ "Our Story". Fiber Arts & Animals Festival. Archived from the original on February 11, 2009. Retrieved March 13, 2008.
  34. ^ "Dial-a-Ride and The Albion-Marshall Connector". cityofmarshall.com. City of Marshall, Michigan. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  35. ^ "A Resolution to honor the memory of former Memphis City Council member and Chairman, Mrs. Gwen Awsumb" (PDF). capitol.tn.gov. February 3, 2003. Mrs. Awsumb moved to Memphis from Marshall, Michigan, at the age of 15
  36. ^ Buckley, Nick; Hall, Kalea (September 20, 2018). "Marshall, Michigan: The town that inspired 'The House with a Clock in Its Walls'". Battle Creek Enquirer.
  37. ^ "Cole, Cyrus Willard". Naval History and Heritage Command. April 27, 2021. Rear Admiral Cole was born in Marshall, Michigan, June 21, 1876
  38. ^ AN Angel From Hell. Berkley. April 6, 2010. ISBN 978-0425233948.
  39. ^ Broderick, Bill (April 22, 2016). "Gase: Journey from Marshall school boy to NFL coach". Battle Creek Enquirer.
  40. ^ "Truskowski Speaks At Grid Supper". Marshall Evening Chronicle. Marshall, Michigan. December 11, 1930. p. 1.
  41. ^ "Jamie Hyneman - Special Effects Artist, Host, Producer". TV Insider. January 23, 2023.
  42. ^ Buckley, Nick (July 8, 2022). "Marshall author launches contemporary fantasy book series with 'Girl of Hearts'". Battle Creek Enquirer.
  43. ^ "Michigan golfer is tied for lead in LPGA". Detroit Free Press. UPI. September 2, 1978. p. 5C.
  44. ^ "John Morse". Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
  45. ^ Robinson, John (May 5, 2022). "The Phrase "What The Sam Hill" Was Based on This Michigan Man". WFMK.
  46. ^ Meyer, Zlati (March 20, 2011). "You haven't lived here until ... You snail-mail yourself to the Marshall postal museum". Detroit Free Press. p. 20. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
  47. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers". michmarkers.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2010. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  48. ^ "Cabin of Adam Crosswhite Historical Marker". www.hmdb.org. Retrieved March 18, 2022.