Swartz Creek, Michigan

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This article is about the city. For other uses, including the waterway, see Swartz Creek (disambiguation).
City of Swartz Creek
Motto: Where Town and Country Shake Hands
Location of Swartz Creek within Genesee County, Michigan.
Location of Swartz Creek within Genesee County, Michigan.
Coordinates: 42°57′43″N 83°49′35″W / 42.96194°N 83.82639°W / 42.96194; -83.82639Coordinates: 42°57′43″N 83°49′35″W / 42.96194°N 83.82639°W / 42.96194; -83.82639
Country United States
State Michigan
County Genesee
Settled 1836
Platted 1877
Incorporated 1959
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor David Krueger
 • Mayor Pro-tem Richard Abrams
 • City Manager Adam Zettel
 • Total 4.04 sq mi (10.46 km2)
 • Land 4.04 sq mi (10.46 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 791 ft (235 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 5,758
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 5,673
 • Density 1,425.2/sq mi (550.3/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 48473, 48554
Area code(s) 810
FIPS code 26-77700[4]
GNIS feature ID 1614476[5]
Website cityofswartzcreek.org

Swartz Creek is a city in Genesee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,758 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Flint and has incorporated land formerly within Flint Charter Township, Gaines Township, and Clayton Township, but is administratively autonomous from all three.


Indian and territorial[edit]

Wayne County was formed within the Northwest Territory covering the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The Saginaw Valley Treaty was signed with the Chippewa Indians in 1819. In 1836, the Pewanigo band of the Saginaw Chippewa Indians signed a treaty with the US government that gave all remaining land in Genesee County for 13 sections of land west of the Mississippi River, with the land to be sold for the Indians' benefit.[6]

For additional information, see Genesee County, Michigan and Michigan.

Miller's Settlement[edit]

Miller's Settlement refers to an area that straddled the Clayton and Gaines geographical township area along what is now Morrish Road. In 1836 with Adam Miller leading the way, the first settlers arrived here. Adam Miller claimed 160 acres in section 35 of the future Clayton Township and returned two months later with family from New York. The Indian trail along the Swartz Creek's west branch was always referred to as "Going up the Swartz". The Millers cut a road from Flint to Miller's Settlement along that route.[7] The Indians travel the trail to reach the maple trees on what would later be the Crapo Farm and to fish, fruit gathering and hunting while the trail terminated in the Lansing area.[8]

Flint Township was organized in 1836 and included the township areas of Burton, Clayton, Flushing, Mt. Morris, Genesee, Thetford, Vienna and Montrose. Mundy Township was organized in 1837 and included Gaines Township. Philander McLain built on previously claimed land as the first settler in the geographical Gaines Township in 1838. Gaines Township was organized in 1842. The post office and route for Miller's Settlement was founded in 1842 as the Swartz Creek Post Office, which was the first reference to the area as Swartz Creek. Clayton Township government was started in 1846.[9] In 1848, Miller Road was designed as a state road.[8]

Grand Trunk Railroad completed its rail line south of Miller's Settlement in 1876 with a station identified as Hamilton. With another Hamilton depot in Michigan and confusion with the location being alternatively called Miller's Settlement or Swartz Creek (via the post office), it was renamed after a year to Swartz Creek depot. The following year (1877) the Swartz Creek Elevator was built.[6] The Village of Swartz Creek subdivision was platted in 1877 with Main Street (currently Holland Drive) perpendicular south of Miller Road and a few roads west of Main Street.[10] The first Masonic Temple in the community was built in 1906 on Miller Road.[8]

In 1916, the community of 650 was highly involved with growing sugar beets, having three beet weighing stations. It also had a large elevator and an Ira T. Sayre owned bank, one of several owned by Sayre in the county. Two churches were located here, the Catholic church and the Methodist Episcopal.[11] In 1925, the Swartz Creek Community Fire Association was formed.[6]

The Swartz Creek community in 1944 formed a community council to deal with area issues as the community spanned two townships. In 1952, the Community Fire Association was forced to dissolve and handed over to the two townships, Clayton and Gaines. It was then reformed as a department shared by both townships.[6] On Wednesday April 7, 1954 at about 7:40 PM, a small tornado hit the community, destroying the fire hall and injuring two.[12]

Crapo Farm[edit]

About 1000 acres of swampland lying in Gaines Township was purchased by Henry Howland Crapo in 1860. The swamp, the source of the west branch of the Swartz Creek and its name, was drained. An effective settlement was established there with the Crapo Farm, with most structures outside of the current boundaries of the city. Crapo was elected Governor of Michigan in 1865 and held office at the farm's mansion, "Grassmoor". The farm even had its own rail depot. After a couple of Crapos held ownership of the Crapo farm, it was sold to developers, and various corporations with Winshall as president. The east side was designated and built into a subdivision of about 300 homes called Winchester Village. Other plans for Crapo Farms were a golf course around the mansion as the clubhouse and a mall at Seymour and Miller Roads, neither of which were built.[6]


Otterburn was in Flint Township, had about 150 residents and had its own train depot[13] that opened in 1882.[14] The location was known as Otterburn as otters were generally seen on the Swartz Creek, a burn. On August 27, 1887, Charles F. Shumway assumed the position of postmaster for the post office upon its opening. The post office closed on October 31, 1913.[14] In 1957, Chevrolet built a parts plant on the north side of Miller Road, west of the rail tracks,[15] also referred to as Otterburn.[16]

City of Swartz Creek[edit]

With the building of the Winchester Village subdivision and the Chevrolet plant in Otterburn, area residents' thoughts turned to incorporation as the community straddled two townships. The residents of Winchester Village opposed incorporation as proposed, and wanted to incorporate as Winchester Village. Additional resistance against incorporation came from Flint Township, as it did not want to lose the taxes from the Chevrolet parts plant. The first charter vote was on December 16, 1958, and the charter fell by a vote of 486 to 522. A second proposed charter draft was approved on September 22, 1959, 548 to 495.[17]

Swartz Creek amended its charter to allow councilors to serve four-year terms with at-large and precinct classes elected at staggered 2 years apart beginning in November 1978.[18]

In the mid-1980s, Swartz Creek was the "report from" for articles covering the Superfund cleanup of Berlin and Farro toxic waste dump for national audiences. Most notably, this included a National Geographic cover story. The Berlin and Farro waste site was not in Swartz Creek, but about 4 miles (6.4 km) out of town in Gaines Township. Cleanup was in two phases with the second ending in the late 1990s.

In 2008, the first primary for any city council election was held on August 5, 2008 due to the field of seven candidates: Richard B. Abrams, (443 votes; 22.64%), Donald Raymond Adams (240 12.26%), Betty Binder (297 15.18%), Jason Christie (334 17.07%), John A. Gilbert (194 9.91%), David Krueger (245 12.52%), and Doug Whetstone (200 10.22%). This eliminated Gilbert from the race.[19]

In May 2013, a Meijer store opened on Morrish Road north of I-69.[20]

In December 2013, the city council voted 4 to 3 to adopt a public safety special assessment district consisting of the whole city with a millage levy of 4.9 mills. While a referendum ballot could take the assessment to the ballot, some residents threatened a recall.[20] Also in December, City Manager Paul Bueche planned for a medical and disability leave from his job with the recommendation that an interim and permanent replacement be hired, city Zoning Administrator and DDA Director Adam Zettel. The city council accepted Bueche's recommendation and hired Zettel effective January 1, 2014.[21] Bueche died on May 15, 2014.[22]


David Krueger
At-Large,[23] Mayor Pro-tem[24] Richard Abrams
At-Large John Gilbert
1 Dennis Pinkston
2 Rae Lynn Hicks
2nd Acting Mayor Pro-tem
Curtis Porath
Acting Mayor Pro-tem
Michael R. Shumaker[25]

Swartz Creek uses a council-manager form of city government. The council has seven members, with three elected at-large and four from the city's four precincts. There is only one ward. Council members serve four year terms, with the precinct and the at-large classes staggered two years apart in even years. The city's mayor and mayor pro-tem are selected from amongst the council's members. The council hires a chief administrative officer with the title of city manager to handle day-to-day administration.[26]

Together with Clayton Township the city runs a joint fire department, Swartz Creek Area Fire Department, under an administrative board with two fire stations, one per municipality. The Swartz Creek Community School District is based in the city and provides the city and the surrounding townships with school services. The city is within the district of the CS Mott Community College.[citation needed] Genesee County Drain Commission provides water to the city.[27]

District Number Officeholder
U.S. Representative 5 Dan Kildee
State Senate 27 Jim Ananich
State Representative 49 Phil Phelps
County Commissioner 8 Ted Henry
District Court 4th Division - Fenton Mark McCabe, Chief Judge
Community College C.S. Mott Multiple; see article
Polling Location SC United Methodist Church all precincts


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.04 square miles (10.46 km2), all land.[1]

The west branch of the Swartz Creek flows from west to east through the city, generally along the southern border, toward the Flint River, leaving the southeast corner of Clayton Township separated from the rest of the township. Just south and parallel to the creek is the Canadian National Railway line, formerly the Grand Trunk line, which runs between Flint and Durand.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 132
1960 3,006
1970 4,928 63.9%
1980 5,013 1.7%
1990 4,851 −3.2%
2000 5,102 5.2%
2010 5,758 12.9%
Est. 2014 5,589 [28] −2.9%
Source: Census Bureau. Census 1960-2000, 2010.
City of Swartz Creek
2010 Racial Makeup
African American
two or more
other races
Native American
Hispanic or Latino

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 5,758 people, 2,554 households, and 1,632 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,425.2 inhabitants per square mile (550.3/km2). There were 2,749 housing units at an average density of 680.4 per square mile (262.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.6% White, 5.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.

There were 2,554 households of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.1% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% 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 2.80.

The median age in the city was 41 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 20.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.8% male and 55.2% female.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Swartz Creek has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[29]

Notable people[edit]

  • Don Brewer was a member of Grand Funk Railroad.
  • Sandra Brewer Brenette is the sister of Don Brewer and a Broadway dancer.[30]
  • Paul Spaniola I (2003-2013) is the only six times International Association of Pipe Smoking Clubs World Pipe Smoking Contest champion, a friend of Charles Stewart Mott, founding owner of the iconic Paul's Pipe Shop in Downtown Flint[31][32] chair of the Swartz Creek City Charter Commission, acting fire chief then fire chief of Swartz Creek Area Fire Department

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Hayes, Yutha (1976). Going up the Swartz. Swartz Creek: Bicentennial Commission of Swartz Creek. 
  7. ^ Hayes, Yutha (1976). Going up the Swartz. Swartz Creek: Bicentennial Commission of Swartz Creek. 
  8. ^ a b c Angus, Laura (September 2, 2008). "Miller Road in Genesee County originally American Indian path". Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  9. ^ Wood, Edwin O. (1916). History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions. Michigan Historical Commission. 
  10. ^ "Village of Swartz Creek plat". Statewide Results for Subdivision Plats. Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Retrieved June 2, 2015. 
  11. ^ Wood, Edwin O. (1916). "Chapter XXVI The Villages of Genesee County, Part II". History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions. Michigan Historical Commission. USGenNet. 
  12. ^ "Small Tornado Strikes Swartz Creek Near Flint". Ludington Daily News. AP. April 8, 1954. Retrieved March 20, 2015. 
  13. ^ Michigan's Internet Railroad History Museum : Station: Otterburn, Michigan
  14. ^ a b Romig, Walter (1986) [1973]. Michigan Place Names. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. p. 423. ISBN 0-8143-1838-X. 
  15. ^ Hayes, Yutha (1976). Going up the Swartz. Swartz Creek: Bicentennial Commission of Swartz Creek. p. 225. 
  16. ^ Angus, Laura (January 9, 2009). "Closing or bankruptcy for GM would devastate retirees, tax base in Swartz Creek". Swartz Creek News (Flint, Michigan: Booth Newspapers). Retrieved 2009-03-20. The plant, also known as Otterburn, opened in 1957. 
  17. ^ Hayes, Yutha (1976). Going up the Swartz. Swartz Creek: Bicentennial Commission of Swartz Creek. p. 180. 
  18. ^ City Charter Amendment Committee (1959). "Swartz Creek City Charter". City of Swartz Creek. 
  19. ^ "Primary Election Official Summary Report" (PDF). Flint, Michigan: Genesee County Clerk. 5 August 2008. pp. 31–32. Retrieved 11 November 2008. 
  20. ^ a b Rocha, Lania. (December 26, 2013). Take 5. The Swartz Creek View. Accessed on December 27, 2013.
  21. ^ Aldridge, Chris (December 4, 2013). "Swartz Creek Zoning Administrator Adam Zettel taking reins as city manager". Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  22. ^ Dresden, Eric (May 16, 2014). "Swartz Creek remembers former city manager, police chief: 'This community and the world lost a really good person'". The Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). Retrieved June 9, 2015. 
  23. ^ Parlove, Angelo (November 8, 2012). "Swartz Creek council seats picked by voters". Swartz Creek View. Retrieved 13 November 2012. 
  24. ^ Parlove, Angelo (November 15, 2012). "City Council elects Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem". Swartz Creek View. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  25. ^ "Pinkston wins city race". Swartz Creek View (Davison, Michigan: View Newspaper Group). November 6, 2014. p. 1. Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  26. ^ Spaniola, Paul; City Charter Commission (1959). "Swartz Creek City Charter". City of Swartz Creek. 
  27. ^ Adams, Dominic (June 27, 2014). "Flint monthly water and sewer bills highest in Genesee County by $35". The Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). Retrieved April 2, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  29. ^ Climate Summary for Swartz Creek, Michigan
  30. ^ Hayes, Yutha (1976). Going up the Swartz. Swartz Creek: Bicentennial Commission of Swartz Creek. p. 221. 
  31. ^ "Paul Spaniola, owner of Paul's Pipe Shop, puffs his way to second place in pipe smoking contest". The Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). October 27, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2015. 
  32. ^ Atkinson, Scott (August 27, 2013). "Paul Spaniola remembered as family man, Flint icon, and always ready with a joke". The Flint Journal (Mlive Media Group). Retrieved July 17, 2015. 

External links[edit]