2014 : Dexter Officially Becomes a City

November 20, 2020 all-day

On Nov. 20, 2014, Dexter officially became a city after its charter was filed.

Village officials began taking steps toward becoming a city nearly a decade ago. And following lots of paperwork and countless trips to Lansing, the city charter was adopted by 54 percent of 1,769 residents who cast ballots on November 2, 2014.

The area was settled in 1824, 13 years before Michigan became a state, when land speculator Samuel L. Dexter purchased a large tract of land and founded the village. It was known as the “Mill Creek Settlement” until the village was platted in 1830 and the name was officially changed to Dexter.

Mill Creek and the Huron River, which form much of the western and northeastern boundaries of the village, respectively, have long been valuable resources to Dexter. A sawmill was built in 1827, a woolen mill in 1838, a grist mill in 1844, and a cider mill in 1886. After being appointed county cjurt justice in 1826, Dexter reportedly established a post office in his home, shuttling mail between there and Ann Arbor on horseback.

Dexter was chief justice of the Washtenaw County Court and a University of Michigan regent. His home just northwest of the village was built in the early 1840s. It is said that it may have served as a refuge for slaves on the Underground Railroad.

On March 15, 2012, Dexter was struck by a strong tornado, causing substantial damage to local houses and businesses. There were no deaths or injuries reported.

For the full article, see Karen Bouffard, “Dexter warily looks to future as newest Mich. city”, Detroit News, December 27, 2014.

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