The Canton Corner

Welcome to the Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan: Canton Township

Welcome to the Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan: Canton Township

by | Apr 10, 2023

Canton Township is an incredibly vibrant community in southeastern Michigan, with a rich history and abundant agricultural area. Known as the “Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan”, this bustling township boasts one of the state’s lowest crime rates, an impressive population of over 93,000, and the distinction of being the second most populated township in the state. With a historically tumultuous presence of Native American communities, traces of their trails dotted throughout the region today, and the consequential tragedy of Chief Tonquish’s son in 1819, things have certainly changed for Canton since those harsh beginnings.

The Potawatomi Indians in Canton

The Potawatomi Indians were the original inhabitants of the Canton region in Southeastern Michigan. They lived off the land, hunting game and gathering natural foods such as berries from the abundant woods and streams. Remnants of their trails can still be seen today on Ridge Road, Ann Arbor Trail, Geddes Road, Joy Road, and Michigan Avenue. It is believed that Lake Whittelsey, which extended westward during the Ice Age, left traces of minerals and organic matter which contributed to the rich and fertile agricultural area of Canton.

Canton is a rich and fertile agricultural area, situated in Southeastern Michigan. It is believed that Lake Whittelsey, which extended westward during the Ice Age, contributed to its richness with traces of minerals and organic matter. The Potawatomi Indians once lived in this region, using the abundant woods and streams for hunting game and gathering natural foods such as berries. Today, remnants of their trails can still be seen in Ridge Road, Ann Arbor Trail, Geddes Road, Joy Road, and Michigan Avenue.

Conflict with the Potawatomi

The early settlers of Canton faced a conflict when they arrived, as the Potawatomi resisted their presence. Despite this, no settlers were injured during the native incursion. Determined to take control of the area, the settlers staged an attack on the Potawatomi, leading to the capture of Chief Tonquish and his men; tragically, the chief’s son was shot and killed during the same incident in 1819. This event resulted in the American Natives giving up resistance to the land, leaving a Michigan State historical marker on Wayne Road that commemorates this moment in history.

The settlers continued to arrive, despite the mosquito-infested swampland and dense timber, and when the Erie Canal opened in 1825 it attracted a wave of settlers from New England and upstate New York. The Burd family was the first to be granted land in Canton, while the Sheldons built the Inn on Michigan Avenue which would become part of the growing village. The area was soon filled with homes, farms, schools, and churches, and today, restored historic buildings such as the Philander’s home can still be seen on Joy Road.

Early History

Canton was founded on March 7, 1834, as the only township with its original name still in use today. It was established as a six-square-mile area surrounded by Joy Road, Van Born Road, Hannan Road, and Napier Road, likely named after a city in China due to the strong trade relations of the United States with China at the time. A Board of Trustees governed Canton and the first town hall was built in 1874 for an impressive $700, seating 400 people.

By 1961, the population had increased to 5 300 and the township proposed to voters that it would be better off if incorporated into a charter township. This proposal was worthwhile as there was an increasing need for services such as police force, traffic rules, and healthcare services. As a result of this move, the Township of Canton was born.

Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan

The township of Canton has long been known as the “Sweet Corn Capital of Michigan”. In the 1950s to 1970s, farmers in the area grew sweet corn and sold it at the Farmers Market in Detroit. This was due to the area’s prime location for self-sustaining farming, which provided all the necessary food and products for early settlers’ basic needs. Additionally, dairy farming also flourished in the area due to its central location. Milk from local creameries located in the villages of Sheldon Corners and Cherry Hill was distributed to larger communities such as Detroit.

Education was also highly valued in Canton, with the Territorial Council ruling that a schoolmaster must be employed in any township that consists of 50 or more families. The community worked together to develop and support the nine schools that were built in Canton, which allowed children to access schooling easily.

Canton Offers a Wide Range of Facilities to its Citizens!

Canton is a thriving community that has earned the distinction of being one of the highest-income places in the United States. It offers its citizens a host of facilities including a full-service police and fire department, professionally managed departments in the township hall, a full-service library, and a multifaceted recreational department. The area also has numerous volunteer and civic organizations. An accredited school system serves the residents with nine original schools.

Canton Township is a strong reminder of our shared American history, with tributes to the Potawatomi nation and notable events from the 1800s still visible today. This thriving community not only celebrates its Native American history but also has a successful agricultural economy and a great environment for all who live here. Canton Township is a vibrant and talented Michigan locale for development and employment opportunities and by far one of the State’s most populous townships.

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