Van Buren Township was created out of Huron Township on April 6, 1835.
The Township was named for Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States (1836-1840). At the time it was formed, the Township already had a population upwards of 500 residents. Elections were held almost immediately, and the first Township officials were elected.
On January 26, 1837, Michigan was admitted to the Union. At almost the same time, the land granting process in Van Buren Township drew to a close. It was January 21, 1837, when Zachariah E. Adams received patent #26388, the last regular grant issued in the Township.
Until the year 1875, Township business was conducted in private homes. The question of erecting a township hall was put to the voters in the spring of 1875. As a result, $1500.00 was apportioned, and construction of a one-story brick building was begun. On September 2, 1875, the voters agreed to allow the Grange Society to pay for a second story. The building was completed in November 1875 and is currently the home of the Belleville Area Museum.
Over the years, the Township has grown at a remarkable rate. Three factors that have contributed to this are: the coming of the railroad to Denton in 1838 and to Belleville in 1881; the formation of Belleville Lake in 1926; and the occurrence of World War II, which created the Bomber Highway (now known as I-94), the Willow Run Bomber Plant, and Willow Run Airport.
In 1926, Van Buren Township underwent its most remarkable transformation when the electrical dam built at French Landing by Detroit Edison changed the narrow Huron River into a 7-mile long lake. At this time, the community became something of a resort area as city dwellers from miles around came to swim, fish, and build summer cottages on the beautiful lake shore.
Today, Van Buren Township is a thriving community of an estimated 27,950 residents enhanced by its homes, schools, churches, shopping centers, and industrial parks. Conveniently located by two airports and two major expressways, the Township currently has several new residential and industrial developments under construction. Belleville Lake, now surrounded by hundreds of lakeside homes, continues to be a prime recreational site.
** Historical information from Water Under the Bridge: A History of Van Buren Township by Cathy S. Horste and Diane F. Wilson, Copyright, 1977. **