About This Place
Grand Ledge is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The city lies mostly within Eaton County, though a small portion extends into Clinton County, and sits above the Grand River 12.7 miles (20.4 kilometers) directly west of downtown Lansing. The population was 7,813 at the 2000 census. The city is well-known for, and named for, its 300-million-year-old, sandstone and quartzite rock ledges that rise 60 feet (18 m) above the Grand River and are used by recreational rock climbers.
Indians who lived in the vicinity of the Grand River near the ledges were of Pottawatomi, Chippewa, and Ottawa ancestry. They dug clams in the river, mined coal on the river banks, and hunted for boar, deer, turkey, fox, and bear. They also fished for black bass. Their name for the ledges translated into English as "Big Rocks".
Based on early records Hugh Howard was the first white man to explore this area by river and record his findings. His journal describes the sandstone ledges as having high banks, some pine trees and heavy woods with the finest places possible for making syrup and several small islands. In 1847 Henry Trench settled in what would later become downtown Grand Ledge. However, after a few years he returned east. In 1850 settlers named their village Grand Ledge, and erected a Post Office. By 1869, a railroad reached to the north end of the village. In 1871, the village was incorporated by the state of Michigan.