Tecumseh, Michigan

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Tecumseh, Michigan
Shops in downtown Tecumseh
Shops in downtown Tecumseh
Location of Tecumseh, Michigan
Location of Tecumseh, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°0′22″N 83°56′58″W / 42.00611°N 83.94944°W / 42.00611; -83.94944
Country United States
State Michigan
County Lenawee
 • Total 5.94 sq mi (15.38 km2)
 • Land 5.70 sq mi (14.76 km2)
 • Water 0.24 sq mi (0.62 km2)
Elevation 804 ft (245 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,521
 • Estimate (2016)[3] 8,362
 • Density 1,400/sq mi (550/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP code 49286
Area code(s) 517
FIPS code 26-79120[4]
GNIS feature ID 1614652[5]
Downtown Tecumseh.

Tecumseh is a small city in Lenawee County, Michigan, United States. It is situated where M-50 crosses the River Raisin, a few miles east of M-52. Tecumseh is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Detroit, 25 miles (40 km) south of Ann Arbor and 40 miles (64 km) north of Toledo, Ohio.

As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,521. The city is surrounded on three sides by Tecumseh Township, but is politically independent. Raisin Township borders the southern edge of the city. The city was rated #93 in 2009, as one of 100 of the best small towns to live in by CNNMoney.[6]


The boundaries of Lenawee County were laid out by a proclamation of the Territorial Governor, Lewis Cass on September 10, 1822.[7] Lenawee remained attached to Monroe County, out of which it was formed, until an act of the Territorial Legislature passed on December 26, 1826, organized the county government.

The first settlement in the county was made two years earlier, on May 21, 1824, in Tecumseh. The settlers, consisting of fifteen men, eleven women, and six children, all came from Jefferson County, New York. In 1823, Musgrove Evans had located the land and persuaded General Joseph W. Brown and the others to move to the site. Brown and Evans, along with Austin Eli Wing purchased land there and platted the village of Tecumseh in 1824. These founders appealed to Governor Cass to locate the county seat of Lenawee at Tecumseh. This was accomplished by an act of the Territorial Legislature on June 30, 1824, even though county government would not be organized for another year and a half. The city was named after the Shawnee chief Tecumseh.[8][9]

Tecumseh remained the county seat until 1838, when it was transferred to Adrian. The Township of Tecumseh was organized on April 12, 1837, initially encompassing the entire northern third of the county.[7]

Panoramic map of Tecumseh, 1868

Just to the north of Tecumseh, the village of Bownville was established in 1823 by Austin Wing. It was annexed by Tecumseh in 1838.[10]


This 1848 drawing of the famous Chief Tecumseh was based on a sketch made in 1808.

Tecumseh is located in Southeast Michigan. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.94 square miles (15.38 km2), of which 5.70 square miles (14.76 km2) is land and 0.24 square miles (0.62 km2) is water.[1]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20168,362[3]−1.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[11]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,521 people, 3,604 households, and 2,304 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,494.9 inhabitants per square mile (577.2/km2). There were 3,957 housing units at an average density of 694.2 per square mile (268.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.0% White, 0.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.4% of the population.

There were 3,604 households of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.0% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.1% were non-families. 31.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.96.

The median age in the city was 39.8 years. 24.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.4% were from 25 to 44; 27.4% were from 45 to 64; and 15.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 46.8% male and 53.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 8,574 people, 3,499 households, and 2,337 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,659.4 per square mile (640.3/km²). There were 3,651 housing units at an average density of 706.6 per square mile (272.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.85% White, 0.19% African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.69% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.49% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.40% of the population.

There were 3,499 households out of which 33.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.8% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 15.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $46,106, and the median income for a family was $58,239. Males had a median income of $39,672 versus $27,630 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,797. About 3.5% of families and 4.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.9% of those under age 18 and 7.4% of those age 65 or over.


One of the village's most well-known manufacturers was Tecumseh Products. Founded by the Herrick family during the early part of the 20th century, Tecumseh Products initially began business manufacturing refrigeration compressors, leading Tecumseh to be known as the "Refrigeration Capital of the World." The company moved out of Tecumseh in 2008, moving the remaining production to a plant in Tupelo, Mississippi, and its headquarters to Pittsfield Township, Michigan, just outside Ann Arbor, Michigan. Consolidated Biscuit Company of McComb, Ohio, agreed to buy the Products plant in 2008, pending an environmental review.[12] However, the deal fell through after Consolidated Biscuit Company was sold[13] The site was found to be contaminated and cleanup begun in 2017.[14]

Arts and culture[edit]

Annual cultural events[edit]

In 2010, the city began hosting the Tecumseh Ice Sculpting Festival in the downtown area on the penultimate weekend in January.[15] Another festival is Appleumpkin (the second weekend in October) which attracts tourists from around the county.


The Southern Michigan Railroad Society, an operating railroad museum, runs through Tecumseh.,[16] along with the proximity to M.I.S.(Michigan International Speedway), brings many tourists to the area allowing for many antique dealers, cafes and fine dining to flourish along the m-50 corridor.


Tecumseh Compass Learning Center

The city of Tecumseh is home to Tecumseh Public Schools which includes one traditional high school, Tecumseh High School, (grades 9–12), one alternative high school, Tecumseh Alternative High School; two middle schools, Tecumseh East STEAM Center, (grade 7 or 8), and Tecumseh West STEAM Center, (grade 7 or 8); and three elementary schools, Tecumseh North Early Learning Center (grades K–1), Tecumseh South Early Learning Center (grades K–1), and Tecumseh Compass Learning Center (grades 2-6).[17][18][19]



Notable people[edit]

Former U.S. Congressman Fernando C. Beaman practiced law in Tecumseh in the 1800s.[20]

Historian and literary critic Ronald Crane was born in Tecumseh.

Andrew Kehoe was born and raised in Tecumseh. On May 18, 1927, Kehoe perpetrated the Bath School disaster in Bath, Michigan. In this incident of mass murder, Kehoe killed 45 people, including himself, in what is to date, the worst school related mass murder in U.S. history.[21][22]

Actress Julie Parrish, born October 21, 1940 in Middlesboro, Kentucky, spent her early years in Lake City, Tennessee, but moved to Tecumseh at age 11.[23] There she graduated from Tecumseh High School (Michigan). Parrish attended modeling school, won "Young Model of The Year', and pursued a career in acting. She appeared with Jerry Lewis in It's Only Money (1962) and The Nutty Professor (1963).

Dynamic Kernels tithing project[edit]

Among the noteworthy events which have occurred in Tecumseh is the world-famous Dynamic Kernels tithing project. A local mill owner, Perry Hayden, planted a cubic inch of wheat and donated 10% of the harvest to the church and replanted the remainder. He continued this for the following six years, resting on the seventh. The amount of land needed for the final crop exceeded 2,600 acres (11 km2). Henry Ford donated much of the necessary land as did many local farmers. The project received much attention including a feature in Life magazine on July 24, 1944. In 2008, Tecumseh Friends Church (now called Riverbend Friends Church) began the Dynamic Kernels Project again.[citation needed]

Don Juan[edit]

A horse, Don Juan, that belonged to General George Armstrong Custer is buried in Tecumseh. The horse had been sent to a friend living in Tecumseh after the General's death. [9][24]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 24, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "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. ^ http://money.cnn.com/magazines/moneymag/bplive/2009/
  7. ^ a b "Our City". City of Tecumesh. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
  8. ^ "Tecumseh". ePodunk. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  9. ^ a b Elliott, Michael A. (2008). Custerology: The Enduring Legacy of the Indian Wars and George Armstrong Custer. University of Chicago Press. p. 75.
  10. ^ Romig, Walter. Michigan Place Names. p. 83.
  11. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ohio Snack Maker Working on Deal for Products plant". The Daily Telegram. September 24, 2008. Archived from the original on December 8, 2008. Retrieved April 19, 2009.
  13. ^ "Consolidated Biscuit drops Tecumseh plans". April 20, 2010.
  14. ^ "Grant, two loans to help Tecumseh Products site cleanup".
  15. ^ http://www.lenconnect.com/news/x255285228/Tecumseh-hoping-for-snow-and-cold-for-Ice-Sculpture-Festival[permanent dead link]
  16. ^ "Southern Michigan Railroad Train Rides". Downtown Tecumseh. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  17. ^ "Tecumseh High School". Great Schools. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Tecumseh Public Schools". Great Schools. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  19. ^ "Tecumseh Public Schools". Tecumseh Public Schools. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  20. ^ "BEAMAN, Fernando Cortez, (1814 - 1882)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  21. ^ Ellsworth, Monty J. (1927). "Chapter Three: Life of Andrew Kehoe". The Bath School Disaster. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  22. ^ Dotinga, Randy (February 24, 2014). "America's deadliest school violence? Not Columbine, but Bath, Mich., in 1927 The Bath School disaster of 1927 remains the deadliest killing spree at a school in America". Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  23. ^ "Julie Parrish Official Website". Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  24. ^ "5 things to know about Tecumseh, Mich". Holland Sentinel. Retrieved February 24, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°00′14″N 83°56′42″W / 42.00389°N 83.94500°W / 42.00389; -83.94500