range Risdon is generally considered to be the founder of Saline, but there is a history that came before he did. Native Americans first occupied the land. They traveled six trails that converged in the area the community now calls Saline. They came to hunt wildlife and gather salt from the salt springs. In the 18th century, French explorers also traveled the river in search of the salt. They named the river Saline, which is derived from “sel,” the French word for salt. Europeans settled the area in the 19th century, most of them from England and Germany. At this same time came Orange Risdon, who was a surveyor hired by the government to survey a road for the military going between Detroit and Chicago. That road was known as the Chicago Road, later called US12, or Michigan Avenue. Risdon liked the land he saw near the Saline River and decided to stay. The village of Saline was established in 1832 and it was nearly 100 years later, in 1931, before it became a city. Saline is still a growing community in the Ann Arbor metropolitan area. Only 10 minutes from downtown Ann Arbor,
The City Seal The city seal is symbolic of the elements that made Saline the city it is today. Conceived in 1966, the seal has never changed. The wheat represents the farmer; the transit was a tool used by Risdon in his work; the automotive wheel represents employment; a wagon wheel marking Saline’s early days as a hub in DetroitChicago shipping; and in the center, a tree representing the growth of agriculture and industry. Circling all of this is a rope symbolizing the band of strength and character that the city draws from its citizens. Known for its small-town atmosphere, Saline has plenty of well-maintained historic homes, but also areas of contemporary homes. Community involvement in the schools, churches, library, hospital, parks and recreation, arts, and museums offer something for everyone. Saline’s Sister Cities
Saline has two sister cities: Brecon, Wales and Lindenberg, Germany. The Brecon twinning is one of the oldest active partnerships in the history of the Sister Cities International organization established in 1966. In 1989, volunteers joined to establish the Saline-Brecon Friendship Guild Ltd. with the mission of promoting a sistercity relationship to the Saline
community and to provide a focus for fundraising activities needed to continue and expand the association and friendship with Brecon. The Saline Celtic Festival is held every year in honor of the growing relationship between Saline and Brecon. The second sister-city partnership began in 2001 with Lindenberg, Germany.
Saline Area Historical Society
Saline Area Historical Society Saline Depot Museum Rentschler Farm Museum Web site: www.salinehistory.org Telephone: 944-0442
he Saline Area Historical Society is responsible for keeping the city of Saline’s history alive. “Preserving the past for the future is our motto,” said Agnes Dikeman, Saline Historical Society secretary. The Saline Area Historical Society began as the Literary
its location provides the best aspects of small-town life with the progressive attitude of a growing city. Saline provides a variety of local employment opportunities for its residents and an excellent school system for its children.
Railroad Depot and the Rentschler Farm in the summer. The group also has an archive of local history books and pictures of Saline.
Society, an arm of the local library. The society was created with the aim of identifying and preserving historic buildings within Saline. The group has identified many historic structures in Saline and plans on keeping them around for generations to come. The historical society is made up of more than 200 members, who are all interested in the local history of Saline. The historical society offers many educational programs on local history. It also offers year-round tours of the Saline
Rentschler Farm Museum 1265 E. Michigan Ave. Saline, MI 48176 Telephone: 944-0442 Opening as a public museum in 1999, Emanuel Rentschler originally purchased his 216acre farm just after the turn of the century. Gradually, he made several improvements, including a new farmhouse in 1906. Four 4
generations of Rentschlers lived and worked on the homestead between 1901 and 1998. Volunteers from the Saline Area Historical Society developed the property with a focus on farm living between the years 1900 and 1950. These are the years that reflect a time of great change in agriculture and family living. There was the transition from horse to tractor, from kerosene to electricity, from an agriculturebased economy to a manufacturing economy. Many of the Continued on Page 5