Early Grand Blanc
How Was Grand Blanc Named?
Grand Blanc literally means “great white”. According to the profile from Grand Blanc Township, the name was given by French traders that arrived sometime before 1800.
The First Pioneers
The first white pioneers came to Grand Blanc in 1823. Jacob Stevens and his family of eight arrived in Detroit from New York. They moved to Grand Blanc in a sort of happy-accident. Originally settling in Oakland County, they found that their land title was defective, leading them to move to Grand Blanc instead (The History of Genesee).
Although this does not depict Stevens and his family, it is a good representation of what a settler’s life looked like in 1889 Grand Blanc when this photo was taken.
Why Settlers Came
Settlers came to Grand Blanc for four main reasons: convenience, farmland, pricing, and eventually, the railroad.
The History of Genesee explains that people arrived because they believed “an establishment,” would be beneficial for themselves and “convenient for travelers and emigrants”. While the City of Grand Blanc points out that families settled due to “abundant farmland which sold for $1.25 an acre” and the arrival of the first railroad in Grand Blanc by 1862 (Sinnott, 2014).