Adrian was originally named Logan when it was founded in 1826 by Addison Comstock. The village was renamed Adrian in 1828, and the community began to blossom after the Erie & Kalamazoo Railroad built its first segment, connecting Toledo and Adrian in 1836. The county seat for Lenawee County was moved from Tecumseh to Adrian in 1838, and the first Lenawee County Fair happened in downtown Adrian in 1839.
In 1845, a Wesleyan Methodist theological institute was established in Leoni. It was later renamed Michigan Union College. In 1859, it moved 40 miles southeast to Adrian and was chartered as Adrian College
. Reverend Asa Mahan was the college's first president, and the college became associated with the Methodist Protestant Church in 1868.
Downs Hall was built in 1860 and is the only building that remains from Adrian College's original campus.
Croswell Opera House
Originally opened in 1866, the Croswell Opera House is the oldest, continually operating theater in Michigan. The beautiful theater in downtown Adrian hosts live theater, musicals and entertainment. Visit the The Croswell Opera House web site
for the current schedule of events.
Lenawee County Courthouse
The first courthouse in Adrian was built in 1837 and was lost to a fire in 1852. A temporary courthouse was used until the current courthouse was completed in 1885. The outside of the beautiful courthouse includes many intricate designs.
St. Joseph's Catholic Church
St. Joseph's parish was established by German immigrants in 1863, and Father John Ehrenstrasser became the church's first pastor in 1865. The majestic church on Ornsby Street was built for $30,000 and was dedicated on October 13, 1879. For a current mass schedule, please see the
Catholic Community of St. Joseph Adrian web site.
First Presbyterian Church
Established in 1832, First Presbyterian Church moved to its current location on
Maumee Street in 1842. The church has been expanded and modernized many times. A bell tower was added in 1846, and stained glass windows were added in 1869. A Sunday school chapel was added in 1884. For a current worship schedule, please see the
First Presbyterian Church web site.
Siena Heights University
Founded in 1919, Siena Heights University
was originally named Saint Joseph's College. The college was founded as a liberal arts and teacher training school for women by Mother Camilla Madden and the Adrian Dominican Sisters. The school was renamed as Siena Heights College in 1939 and became coeducational in the 1960s.
The Dennis and State Streets Historic District in Adrian contains many beautiful old houses, some of which date back to the 1860s. The district became a Michigan historic location in 1974 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
Michigan Historical Markers
Adrian has many Michigan Historical Markers that describe places and people from the town's past. The green markers are designated by the Michigan Historical Commission.
- On Madison Street, there are markers for Adrian College and Camp Williams/Fourth Michigan Volunteer Infantry.
Both markers are on the campus of Adrian College.
- A green marker for the Adrian Union Hall is located to the left of the entrance for the Croswell Opera House.
The theater was renamed Croswell Opera House in 1887.
- Lenawee County Courthouse has a historical marker near Main Street/M-52.
- On the south side of the Lenawee County Fairgrounds, there is a historical marker near the Dean Street.
- Near the intersection of Siena Heights Drive and Locust Street, there is a historical marker for Oakwood Cemetery.
- On the campus of Siena Heights University, there is a historical marker in front of
Sacred Heart Hall.
- On North Broad Street, there is a marker for Second Baptist Church.
- In front of the Reformed Baptist Church, there is a historical marker that describes
St. John's Lutheran Church.
- Beyond St. Joseph Academy on the north side of Siena Heights Drive, there is a marker that
describes St. Joseph Hospital and Home for the Aged.
- St. Joseph's Catholic Church on Ornsby Street was dedicated on October 13, 1879. A historical marker is located in front of the church. Two historic structures are located next to the church, the parish residence and St. Joseph School.
Michigan Legal Milestone Marker
On the front of a building on the south side of Maumee Street, between Winter Street and Main Street, there is a marker that designates the location of Thomas Cooley's first law office, which he established in 1848. In 1859, Cooley joined the faculty at the University of Michigan Law School, where he taught for 25 years. He was appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1864, where he served for 20 years. He later served as the head of the Interstate Commerce Commission and the president of the American Bar Association.
Adrian Historical Marker
On the northeast corner of Comstock Park, there is a marble monument that indicates the
site of the first house built in Adrian in 1826 by Addison Comstock, the founder of Adrian.
Other Historic Locations
- Adrian Engine House No. 1, which is located near Lenawee County Historical Museum, dates back to 1855.
- Adrian's original YMCA building at the corner of Main and Church Streets, now an apartment building in downtown, was built in 1901.
- Burnham Historical Building on Church Street was built in 1865.
- The Lenawee Historical Society Museum is located in the old Adrian Public Library, which was built in 1909.
- The W. Maumee Trading Co. building on Maumee Street was home to Pfeiffer's Mineral Springs Bathing House in 1871.
- At Heritage Park, the old Freesoil School and Seneca Barber Shop are at the center of the park.
Historical Walking Route
You can see many historic locations in Adrian by using the downtown sidewalks. You can see Lenawee County Courthouse, Croswell Opera House, and a few other historic locations in the city. For a map of the historical walking route, see the
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