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Eaton Rapids, Michigan facts for kids

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Eaton Rapids
The Island City
Location of Eaton Rapids, Michigan
Location of Eaton Rapids, Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Eaton
 • Total 3.65 sq mi (9.45 km2)
 • Land 3.54 sq mi (9.18 km2)
 • Water 0.10 sq mi (0.27 km2)
869 ft (265 m)
 • Total 5,214
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,479.55/sq mi (571.23/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 517
FIPS code 26-24540
GNIS feature ID 0625314

Eaton Rapids is a city in Eaton County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,214 at the 2010 census.

The city is located in the south of Eaton Rapids Township, on the boundary with Hamlin Township, though it is politically independent of both townships. Its nickname is the Island City, since the downtown is located on an island, with a public park, in the Grand River.


The Potawatomis established a village in the area of what is now Eaton Rapids in about 1774.

The area constituting Eaton Rapids was first settled by Euro-Americans around the year 1835, mainly for the timber and water power in the area. The following year, a sawmill was constructed near Spring Brook in Spicerville that would provide the lumber used to start Eaton Rapids. In 1837, the Old Red Mill was constructed by the mill company and used the power from the stream to grind corn. The mill company later used wood from Spicerville to construct their own sawmill along the Grand River, as well as a wool carding mill.

In 1852, mineral water was first discovered by E.B. Frost, earning Eaton Rapids worldwide fame and the nickname The Saratoga of the West. This water was in huge demand and led to a large influx of people seeking mineral water baths as well as cures from all types of ailment. Fourteen wells were drilled in total, only three of which still remain to this day.

In 1921, John B. Davidson, Sr. came to Eaton Rapids from Philadelphia. He started the only mill in Michigan spinning its own yarn. The Davidson Mill supplied 95% of the wool yarn for the major league baseball, as well as high grade yarns for other applications. After 48 years in business the mill burned in 1969. John B. Davidson served as mayor of Eaton Rapids as well as in both the State House and Senate.

In 1927, Oldsmobile President Irving Jacob Reuter and his wife Janet built Meadowvue, an English Tudor mansion, at which they lived for nine years. Mr. Reuter was also a financier and inventor. The Reuters donated substantial sums to charity.

The property was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lansing, and became the home of its first Bishop, the Most Reverend Joseph H. Albers as his private residence. The home was later sold to CJ and Mille Sumner who furnished the home with antiques and opened the home as an unusually ornate Adult Foster Care Home which they named "Ivy Manor". The home was sold again in 1990 and made into a Bed and Breakfast. In 1991 it was listed in the state List of Registered Historic Places in Michigan. The original 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) building, complete with many of the original antique furnishings, and is 15 acres (61,000 m2) of garden and pastoral countryside located on the river, are open to the public as a restaurant and bed and breakfast and are a tourist destination. See Irving Jacob Reuter.


Eaton Rapids is on the northward course of the Grand River as it flows from Jackson to Lansing, where it turns westward, at its confluence with the Spring Brook.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.51 square miles (9.09 km2), of which 3.39 square miles (8.78 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.31 km2) is water.

Geographic features


  • M-99 connects with I-94, 19 miles (31 km) to the south near Albion; and with I-96, 12 miles (19 km) north, just south of Lansing.
  • M-50 connects with I-69, nine miles (14 km) west in Charlotte; and with US 127 and I-94, 21 miles (34 km) to the southeast just north of Jackson.
  • M-188 provides access from Eaton Rapids to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) National Home near Onondaga.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 581
1870 1,221 110.2%
1880 1,785 46.2%
1890 1,970 10.4%
1900 2,103 6.8%
1910 2,094 −0.4%
1920 2,379 13.6%
1930 2,822 18.6%
1940 3,060 8.4%
1950 3,509 14.7%
1960 4,052 15.5%
1970 4,494 10.9%
1980 4,510 0.4%
1990 4,695 4.1%
2000 5,330 13.5%
2010 5,214 −2.2%
2019 (est.) 5,245 0.6%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 5,214 people, 2,092 households, and 1,345 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,538.1 inhabitants per square mile (593.9/km2). There were 2,387 housing units at an average density of 704.1 per square mile (271.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.1% White, 0.7% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.8% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.4% of the population.

There were 2,092 households, of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 6.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 35.7% were non-families. Of all households, 30.0% were made up of individuals, and 11% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the city was 34.8 years. 27.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.3% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.7% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 11.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.3% male and 51.7% female.


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Eaton Rapids has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Eaton Rapids para niños

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