Mason Area Historical Society
Mason Area Historical Society






Michigan History


Full Credit:

Image courtesy of The Gutenberg Project of the University of Michigan, all rights reserved.





Mason Mi - Wikipedia






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Sketch of Rayner Park from 1895! At the time, the property contained the residence of

William H Rayner. Mr. Rayner would sell the ice created in the ponds in the winter months.

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"It's rare that we can get a visual glimpse this far into Mason's past, but here is a sketch of the 300 Block of S Jefferson St before the Civil War (about 1859). The top story of the building on the left is the office of attorney Philip McKernan, who died serving the Union in the Civil War. This sketch and caption appeared in the June 13, 1962 issue of the Ingham County News. — in Mason, Michigan." 


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"Looking southeast over Mason, circa 1906."

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Created / Published Philadelphia: Harley & Siverd, 1859  

Contributor Names Geil & Co. Herline & Hensel

Topographic map of the counties of Ingham & Livingston, MI 

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Mason, MI 48854 - Ingham County 


Named after the first Governor of Michigan - Stevens T Mason





Wikipedia Link:


National Governors Association



©  2018 All rights reserved Article



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1836 - Charles Noble -  Purchased and cleared 20 acres - founded Mason Center

* Mr. Noble had been in search of a central location to establish a new capital when Michigan would became a state.   

Feb or March 1836: Lewis Lacey - First settler to arrive in the area built a sawmill for Noble & Co. of Monroe, and cut twenty acres (on section).

1837- Judge Ephraim Bushnell Danforth (associate of Noble & Co) settled and assumed the firm's interest.   Noble & Co erected the first grist mill - first of it's kind located in Ingham County. 
Via  "City of Mason - Early Settlement"   


1847Mr. Noble had argued to have Mason named State Capital - Lansing won the State Capital title, but after continued discussion and compromise, it was decided that Mason would be the County Seat as Lansing would remain Michigan's Capital. 

****Mason is the only city in the U.S. that serves as a county seat ahead of a state capital. 


1843:  First Court House was built (located 140 E Ash St )

1858 - Courthouse replaced

1905 Courthouse replaced


(County Court House, built 1858, with the Methodist Church in the background via )



                                              By Samuel W. Durant  Published 1880  by D.W. Ensign & Co., Philadelphia


Courthouse Links: 

Keith Vincent  Postcard collector of county courthouses for over 20 years. 

*Ingham County Courthouse inlcuded  Link: | is a website designed to record the basic historical information for the numerous county courthouses in the United States and courthouses in Canada.


The basic data includes the architectural style, date when construction was started and completed, architect and contractor (builder). Additional information can be added or corrections made by contacting me via email.   



MLive - By Danielle Duval |   Link:



The 100 plus year old Ingham County Court House received a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

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Essay item  - "The City of Mason - It's Past & Present Life, 1838-1897"           

Click the link for essay -->  /upload/files/TheCityofMasonpastpresent18381897.pdf

Compiled by: Roy C Vandercook    Reproduced by Keitha Mills (12-4-1952)     Presented to Mason High School Library 12-1-1952

By Roy W Adams - '02   Ralph S Adams -07  Ethel C Adams - '08


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Various noted Mason, MI items


Copyright Statement
Copyright 2011 Michigan Roots




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Mason City: Beginnings via

"The City of Mason Multiple Resource Area was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Portions of the text below were selected, transcribed, and/or adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1]"  


  1. Haynes, Robin and Moran Diane, Historic Resources of Mason Michigan,nomination document, 1985, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.  Information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed. • PrivacyCopyright © 1997-2017 • The Gombach Group • • 15971



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About The Lansing state Republican. (Lansing, Mich.) 1855-1874
Lansing, Mich. (1855-1874)


The History of Newspapers in Mason MI

Derived from an article by Aaron Emerson |

As the history of Mason stretches far back and features a lot more interesting facts than most towns its size, so too does the history of published newspapers in Mason.Mason was settled in 1836 and in the 19 years leading up to its incorporation as a village, there were at least five different newspapers that were started. Four of them lasted less than two years and the last one still stands today.

A lot of early newspapers relied upon the income they received from contracting with local treasurers to publish tax sales and delinquencies, a process that yielded hefty sums at the time. This brought out a lot of politics within the newspaper business and, in fact, the first three papers in Mason featured mostly political propaganda.

The first newspaper to ever be printed in Ingham County was started in Mason in April of 1842 when two brothers, John and Mark Childs, started the Ingham Telegraph. However, it was out of business just eight months later after the newly elected county treasurer, Jason Packard, refused to let them publish the tax list because of their Whig party views.

Instead, Packard arranged to set up a paper that would support the Democratic Party, called the Peninsular Star. The Star only lasted a year and a half because of disagreements between the two owners.After a new county treasurer was elected in 1844 that supported the Whig party, John Childs came back to Mason and started the Ingham Herald with a man named H.P. Stillman.

Later on that year, however, a Democratic-heavy Michigan Legislature changed tax advertising laws and enabled tax lists to be handled by the Auditor General. This not only contributed to the downfall of the Ingham Herald, but inspired one of the most popular journalists in the state to come to Mason to start a paper that reflected his Democratic views.

Wilbur Storey, who owned the Jackson Citizen Patriot at the time and later owned the Detroit Free Press and then the Chicago Times, started the Ingham Democrat in 1845. Storey was an intense supporter of slavery and his rants criticizing the Union did not go over well with the Mason townsfolk.

Though the exact date is not known, a group of locals got together one night and raided Storey’s office, destroying his printer and dumping all of his ink and supplies all over the courthouse lawn. Storey left town and the Ingham Democrat ceased operations after that, but Storey would go on to be one of the most debated voices in the North for his anti-Lincoln and anti-Civil War views he published. After Storey left town, there was no newspaper for at least a decade until David B. Harrington started one in 1859. That paper, the Ingham County News, is still published today and it got its start because of promises of support from local businessmen.

Harrington, from the east coast, got word that a growing town in Mid-Michigan would be a good prospect for a newspaper so he decided to take a trip to Mason, which was still six years away from being incorporated as a village. Area residents were eager for a paper and pledged to support Harrington and his news business if he moved to Mason.

The Ingham County News printed a special edition paper in 1990 celebrating Mason’s 125th birthday and quoted Harrington saying this after his trip to Mason: “The citizens seemed all awake, and the prospect of a newspaper being printed at their county seat seemed to coincide with their views.”  And so Harrington made it happen. The first Ingham County News was published on June 23, 1859, when Mason had about 70 families living there.  

Harrington sold the News 11 years later, and between then and 1898, there would be six different owners. Later on in 1923, however, Vernon J. Brown bought the News, beginning a Brown family ownership that would span three generations and half a century.  

As Mason continued to grow, the Brown family got the News to flourish. They had some of the most technological advanced printing machinery in the state at Inco Graphics, a printing shop they opened in 1963. Inco was so advanced that they even printed several other newspapers there from around the Midwest.

The Ingham County News was bought by the Milliman family, who also owned the East Lansing Towne Courier and the Williamston Enterprise, in 1987.  

In 1999, the name was changed to the Ingham County Community News and it became a part of the Lansing State Journal’s Lansing Community Newspaper chain, owned by Gannett, one of the most powerful media conglomerates in the United States.

As the city of Mason celebrated its 150th birthday in 2015, a new paper called Mason Today became the only newspaper in town that featured both an online format and a print edition to give readers a wide variety of options to gather their local news.  Mason Today was started by Josh and Katy Curtis, two residents of Mason, and ceased publication after several years.

Just as Harrington said in 1859, Mason citizens are still “awake” and eager for local news.  That niche is currently filled by the websites and broadcasts of the Lansing television stations and by groups and pages on Facebook.  Check out the "Mason 48854" group.




*** News article - Mason/ County Seat - article via MasonToday - click the below link -->>

/upload/files/MahssectionhistoryPDF1.pdf  -- **Rodney Jewett and Mike Beard contributed to this article.



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