In the 19th century, Orange Risdon was attracted to what is now Saline, but at the time was part of the Territory of Michigan. He was surveying a military road from Detroit to Chicagoand was working at the request of the federal government.
The road was subsequently known as the Chicago Road, later called U.S. 12 or Michigan Ave. MI Ave is still the main street in Saline going right through downtown. Michigan Ave runs from Detroit to Chicago.
On April 5, 1825, Risdon purchased 164 acres from the government. In time, he built his house on the land and it was there that the first town meeting was later held.
In 1832, Risdon was instrumental in Saline being platted as an unincorporated village, a status that was retained until 1866 when the village incorporated.
Interestingly, the area "almost" became two towns. In 1845, Schuyler Haywood of Barnegat, NJ built a flour mill on the west side of the Saline River. Other settlers soon added a saw mill, blacksmith shop, cooper shop, stores and a windmill factory.
Saline was founded as a village in 1832 and it wasn't long before it grew, both in population and size. It was an important stage-stop on the Chicago Road and the town attracted a number of artisan workshops and mills. But it was actually the railroad that made the village grow.
During the Civil War, so many young men were drawn into the ranks of the military that there was a serious labor shortage.
Education of children was a primary concern of the settlers. Education today is still of primary concern for Saline Residents with most new people moving into the Saline area for the quality of the schools.
Even before the Union School was established in Saline, the Lodi Academy was begun in 1847 north of town, in the Lodi Twp. At that time schools were using an ugraded system for schools. The graded system did not begin until 1865.
Union School was built in 1868 on N. Ann Arbor St. at McKay. It is still there today and used for Community Education offices, Pooh Corner and Alternative Education.
Interesting enough, Saline is still known for it's excellent school system. Every year I sell homes for people that have heard about how good Saline schools are and move here to be apart of them.
Raising 5 kids here I know that to be true.