Founding Westland

The first people in the area of what is now Westland were multiple Native American tribes. Though a tribe never sat on the land, multiple tribes would often meet in the area to discuss matters. The location was picked by settles to be a mediocre size stop for trade, more for rest than actual trade on the trade routes. Even with this many people passed through but never stayed. For this reason the area remained largely undeveloped in the 19th century and did not pick its pace to be a more robust suburb until 1930-1980 period. This can be seen by the population that had lived in the region through multiple US censuses.

Westland was not originally founded as Westland, hence the reason you may have difficulty finding things on the city being founded. The city was originally named Nankin Township long before becoming the City of Westland. The name came from the Nankin Mills that was within the borders of the township, just like the name Westland came from the mall that is now within its borders as well. Looking around the city you can see remnants of Nankin, including some oddly place manhole covers, such as in people’s backyards, that have the writing “Nankin Township sewer and water”. Nankin Township was formed when the Livonia Township broke away from what was Bucklin Township in 1835, thus creating Nankin as its own township covering the land Westland sits on today. Nankin remained a township until it reached the requirements to establish itself as a city in 1966. When this came about, the township held a vote to decide the new name of the city, would it remain Nankin or would it become something else? After the proposal and vote, it was no longer Nankin and would never become City of Nankin. The voters liked the name of the newly opened mall which was named Westland, they voted to name the new city after the mall which resulted in the birth of the City of Westland. Thus concluding the name changing from Bucklin to Nankin to its current name.

City of Westland sign and seal

The city’s land shape is unique in its own way as well. In an area where most of the city’s are either square or rectangular shape, Westland is more of a few shapes smashed together. There is no name for the shape it makes as it was a square body, a small rectangle going downward, then one eastward and a few other things springing off its square body. This was the result from the neighboring cities establishing themselves first and grabbing the surrounding land, leaving Westland (Nankin at the time) what was left.

Reference: Westland (Book by the Bailey authors)

Reference: History of Nankin Mills

Reference: Perrinsville Quick Facts