Carving a Community
In 1835, Erastus Beebe had a dream. With his two brothers and several men from an English settlement in New York, he was determined to carve a prosperous community out of the wilderness known today as the City of Richmond.
They had traveled on foot from their eastern home to Cleveland, Ohio, where they acquired passage on the Robert Fulton Steamer to Detroit. On foot again, the pioneers made their way north to a settlement in Armada. Traveling along the Armada Ridge, they came upon the site where two ridges met. Beebe, fascinated with the beauty of the area and the richness of the soil, returned to Detroit to purchase the government land grants.
Armed with little more than his dream and the land grants, signed by President Martin Van Buren, Beebe began the plotting and selling of lots. Within five years of the founding of "Beebe's Corners," businesses, industries, a post office, church, and school had sunk their roots deep into the virgin earth.
It was not until December 1, 1859, that Richmond's success as a community was secured. The Grand Trunk Railway had arrived, providing easy access to the area's lumber and agricultural products; commodities much needed by a young nation in its time of civil war.
In the decades that followed, industry flourished and prospered. By 1878, the voters of Beebe's Corners and the two nearest neighboring communities, Ridgeway and Cooper Town, agreed to incorporate as one community. The following year, by an act of the Michigan Legislature, the Village of Richmond was born.
The Village of Richmond continued to flourish throughout the early and mid-1900s, and, on July 1, 1966, Richmond was incorporated as a Michigan home rule city under the council / manager form of government. In 1989, the Muttonville area of Lenox Township was annexed into the city, and in 1998 parts of Richmond Township in Macomb County and Casco and Columbus Townships in St. Clair County were also annexed.
Today, Richmond is a rapidly growing city with an estimated population of 5,200 residents and is linked by the I-94 Expressway, M-19, and the Gratiot Avenue corridor to the Detroit / Flint / Port Huron metropolitan areas. The city has seven subdivisions under development, which will add another 2,250 residents to the city within the next few years. Commercial and industrial development are also in the works. Still, Richmond maintains the cherished serenity of small-town living.
Although only 40 miles north of Detroit and twenty miles southwest of Port Huron, all roads that lead to Richmond are lined with rich farm lands and scenic Michigan landscapes.
Grand Trunk Railroad
The Grand Trunk Railroad remains. Its tracks reach west to Pontiac and cities beyond, north or Port Huron and Canada, and south to Detroit and rest of the nation.
Ocean lines traveling the St. Clair River, the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway are just 20 minutes from Richmond's border.
Michigan's largest airport, the Detroit Metropolitan, is 60 miles away and the St. Clair County Airport is a 10 minute drive from the city.
It is little wonder that this community, with its access to the world, continues to prosper.