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 to the north. The city sits above the Grand River 12.7 miles (20.4 kilometers) west of downtown Lansing. The population was 7,786 at the 2010 census. The city is named for its sandstone rock ledges that rise 60 feet (18 m) above the Grand River and are used by recreational rock climbers. Native Americans 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, hunted for deer, turkey, fox, and bear, and fished for black bass. Their name for the ledges translated into English as “Big Rocks”.
Based on early records, Hugh Heward was the first white man to explore this area by water 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 the existence of several small islands. In 1847 Henry Trench settled in what would later become downtown Grand Ledge. 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 the north end of the village. In 1871, the village was incorporated by the state of Michigan. Grand Ledge grew as a resort area during the 1870s, spurred by the railroad access.
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