Early Grand Blanc


Photo credit: Town Map USA

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).

Grand Blanc Township
Photo credit: Grand Blanc Township

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).