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Wednesday April 23, 2014
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Remember the Raisin!



South of US-12 I pass the state Fishery Research Station. The Native Americans knew of salt springs here, and when French travelers came up the river by canoe, they named it using their word for salt, saline. Years of drainage and agriculture have lowered the water table so much that the springs no longer flow. The York Mill was at this site until the 1940s.

At Stony Creek Road, I detour about a mile west to see what is left of the village of Mooreville. The sight of a large tree growing up through the porch of the abandoned church is jarring. Mooreville lost out to Milan when the railroad came through, suffering the indignity of having buildings moved to be closer to where the action was.

About halfway between Milan Dragway and the little hamlet of Grape, the Saline, Macon, and Raisin rivers join together. In the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, the Potawatomi surrendered most of southeast Michigan but retained land here called the Macon Reserve.

The road is called North Custer now (South Custer runs parallel on the other side of the River Raisin). At Raisinville, some old buildings are preserved by the Monroe County Historical Society. The little brick schoolhouse was built in the 1850s. The white Navarre House next door was built in 1789--the first of George Washington's eight years as president.

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