100 years of community spirit: The history of Marysville

Welcome to Marysville, Michigan, a picturesque city nestled along the scenic shores of the St. Clair River. It commemorates a significant milestone, a century since becoming a city on May 12, 1924. 

Explore the rich history and vibrant community spirit that defines Marysville in this journey through time. 

A Community Bonded Through Generations

The words from an old cliché, Nick Beaudry, Chair of the Community Fund, remarks, "It takes a village." The 2020 United States Census Bureau reports a population of 9997.

“Over the past 100 years there have been multigenerational families that have built this community,” Beaudry says. “I have friends and family who no longer live in Marysville yet hold a connected fiber and stay involved.” 

Their enduring bonds and collective efforts have shaped the town’s identity and sense of community.  

Rhadigan's general store and post office/DUR station in 1920's Marysville.

Evolution of Industries: From Past to Present

In the early 1900s, Marysville was a hub of manufacturing and trade. Industries like shipbuilding, lumber mills, and agricultural processing were the mainstay of the economic times. While industries have evolved others have faded. 

The automotive industry continues to thrive, diversify, and expand driving Marysville’s economy forward. Industries such as tape and package-sealing material manufacturers; polyethylene foam product markers; propane and butane storage facilities, and ethanol production support the town’s automotive lineage.  

Notable Figure: Childe Harold Wills

One standout figure in Marysville's history is Childe Harold Wills, whose enterprising spirit and innovation left a lasting impact. 

The Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum reports that Henry Ford employed Childe Harold Wills as a metallurgist and chief engineer. 
The Wills Sainte Claire automobile.
In 1919, Wills resigned, cashed in his Ford stock for $1.5 million, founded C.H. Wills and Co., and announced plans to begin manufacturing the Wills Sainte Claire automobile. This automobile was forward-thinking and embodied ultramodern engineering concepts.

Wills' automotive manufacturing company helped set up Marysville as an automotive industrial center, and his legacy continues to inspire entrepreneurship and growth.

Today, the Wills Sainte Claire Auto Museum, found at 2408 Wills St., commemorates Marysville's role in automobile history and the Wills Sainte Claire automobile. 

The Role of Infrastructure: Detroit Union Railway  

The Detroit Union Railway played a pivotal role in connecting Marysville to larger economic centers, facilitating trade and transportation. This vital infrastructure contributed significantly to Marysville's growth as a center of commerce and industry.

The Detroit Edison Company steam locomotive at Marysville City Park. 
Preserving History: Adaptive Reuse of Buildings 

Preserving Marysville's rich history is essential, and one way this is achieved is through the adaptive reuse of historic buildings. The transformation of the old fire hall into the Marysville Community Center serves as a testament to the town's commitment to honoring its past while embracing its future.

Geographical Gem: Marysville’s Prime Location

Over the past century, the town has flourished, evolving from a modest settlement into a treasure trove of attractions and landmarks that pay homage to the city’s rich history. 

The St. Clair River shoreline offers a 1.5-mile continuous stretch of land that boasts the Chrysler Beach, a boat launch, a boardwalk, and a Veterans Memorial.  
Marysville City Park at 801 E. Huron Blvd.
The Marysville City Park is a 58-acre destination, making it a regional hub of recreation and outdoor entertainment. The park hosts Concerts in the Park, Hot Wheels Weekend, Marysville Days, Little League tournaments, the Bridge to Bay trail connection, and a splash pad. 

Modern-day amenities include wi-fi access, charging stations, restrooms, and free parking.

Two other “must-see” Marysville destinations are Morton Park, a National Fitness Campaign Fitness Court, and Marysville Golf Course.

Celebrating a Century of Community Spirit

As the town prepares to commemorate its 100th anniversary, there's a buzz of excitement in the air, and at the heart of it all is the Marysville Community Fund.

 "The Marysville Community Fund was established in 2015 with a mission to support residents, special projects, programs, and organizations," Beaudry says. "Since then, we've been dedicated to fostering a sense of belonging and prosperity within our community."

Reflecting on past initiatives, Beaudry recounts the fund's significant contributions, such as the generous $15,000 grant awarded to the Marysville High School marching band in 2021. 

"It was one of our first major projects," Beaudry says. "Supporting our local high school's musical program was a testament to our commitment to nurturing talent and creativity within our youth."

In 2022, the momentum continued as the fund distributed $23,000 to 12 deserving organizations during the halftime of a Marysville High School football game. From the Marysville Lions Club to the SOS Marysville food pantry, each grant recipient played a vital role in enriching the fabric of the community. 

"It was a momentous occasion," Beaudry says. "To witness the collective impact of our contributions underscored the power of unity and philanthropy."

Marysville Community Center is located at 876 E. Huron Blvd.

A Gala Celebration of Legacy and Promise

The city invites guests to a black-tie Gala celebration at Alexander’s Premier Banquet Facility. This formal event promises an evening of elegance and philanthropy, where attendees can mingle, dine, and contribute to the community fund.

The Marysville Community Fund is gearing up for its most ambitious endeavor yet. 

"Our goal is to raise $100,000 at the gala," Beaudry says. "It's not just about commemorating a century of history, it's about laying the foundation for the next 100 years of growth, resilience, and community spirit."

The gala is more than just a glamorous affair, it's a testament to Marysville's unwavering spirit and sense of togetherness. 
Men boarding the DUR at the Marysville station on Huron Blvd in the early 1920's.
"Marysville is special because of its people," Beaudry says. "Our close-knit community, surrounded by picturesque landscapes and neighboring towns, embodies the true essence of small-town charm."

"It's not just about preserving the past; it's about shaping the future," Beaudry says. "Through the Marysville Community Fund, we're investing in our community's potential and ensuring that the spirit of generosity and compassion continues to thrive for generations to come."
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