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Mason, Michigan
—  City  —
Downtown Mason, looking West from the Town Square.
Location of Mason in Michigan.
Coordinates: 42°34′45″N 84°26′37″W / 42.57917°N 84.44361°W / 42.57917; -84.44361
Country United States
State Michigan
County Ingham
Settled 1836
Incorporated 1865
 - Mayor Leon Clark
 - Total 4.6 sq mi (11.9 km2)
 - Land 4.6 sq mi (11.9 km2)
 - Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)  0%
Elevation 919 ft (280 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,714
 - Density 1,466.6/sq mi (566.2/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 48854
Area code(s) 517
FIPS code 26-52180[1]
GNIS feature ID 0631694[2]

Mason is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is named after the state's first governor, Stevens T. Mason. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,714,[1] with the 2008 estimate placing it at 8,099.[3] It is the county seat of Ingham County[4]. Mason is the only city in the U.S. that serves as a county seat ahead of a state capital, with the capital of Lansing also in Ingham County. Despite being the county seat, many county offices and courtrooms are located in Lansing.



In 1836 Charles Noble knew that Michigan would be seeking a central location for a new capital when it became a state. He purchased an area of forest, cleared 20 acres (81,000 m2), and founded Mason Center. The "Center" was soon dropped. However, in 1847, the state instead chose Lansing Township 12 miles (19 km) northward to be its capital due its potential for water power. However, Noble did manage to make Mason the county seat instead. Up into the early 1900s, the local Ojibwa tribe had a visible presence in the town. Ingham County's first downtown courthouse was built in 1843, and was replaced in 1858, and then again in 1905. In 1865, Mason was incorporated as a village and in 1875 the town became a city. In the 1800s, Mason was the center of Ingham County activity, even more than was Lansing, the state capital. In 1877, Lansing attempted to take the status of county seat for itself, but the two cities made an agreement that moved some county offices and courts to Lansing in exchange for Mason remaining the county seat. As a result, Michigan is the only state in the country with a capital city that is not also a county seat. In the 1900s, Mason began producing baby formula, but that was discontinued in the 1990s. Today, it is home to the headquarters of Dart Container Corporation. Lear Corporation, Gestamp U.S. HardTech, and Ingham Intermediate School District also have facilities in the Mason area. Cows can still be seen grazing within the city limits.[5]


Mason is located at 42°34′45″N 84°26′37″W / 42.57917°N 84.44361°W / 42.57917; -84.44361.[6] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.6 square miles (11.9 km²), all land.

Mason sits upon The Mason Esker, which is one of the longest eskers in the western hemisphere[7]



As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 6,714 people, 2,806 households, and 1,826 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,466.6 per square mile (566.0/km²). There were 2,961 housing units at an average density of 646.8/sq mi (249.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.98% White, 0.64% African American, 0.46% Native American, 0.71% Asian, 0.74% from other races, and 1.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.73% of the population.

Ingham County Courthouse

There were 2,806 households out of which 33.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.7% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.9% were non-families. 30.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.6% under the age of 18, 8.3% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 89.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $41,790, and the median income for a family was $53,519. Males had a median income of $41,081 versus $26,266 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,866. About 1.3% of families and 4.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.7% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

The Historic Mason Library


Celebrations and festivals

  • Down Home Days, a Thursday through Sunday festival, centered on the third Saturday in September. A variety of community activities are planned for each day. Beginning in 1973, the outdoor Courthouse Show features arts, crafts, and other booths on Saturday around the courthouse, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Spring Fling, a Thursday through Sunday festival, centered on the first Saturday in May. A variety of community activities are planned for each day. Beginning in 1983, the outdoor Courthouse Show features arts, crafts, and other booths on Saturday around the courthouse, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.
  • Ingham County Fair. This county fair began over 150 years ago.
  • Mason Steam Engine & Thresher's Club Show, a steam engine show.
  • Mason Aviation Day at Mason Jewett Airport, hosted by EAA Chapter 55.
  • Independence Day Celebration, on the 4th of July, daytime car show around the downtown Courthouse, evening parade, and twilight fireworks at the Fairgrounds.
  • Mason Holidays Celebration, the Friday after Thanksgiving, features afternoon entertainment in the Mason Antiques District, downtown light parade after dark, and more.
  • Thursday Night Live summer outdoor concert series (weather permitting) on eight select Thursday evenings in the downtown Courthouse lawn, hosted by the Mason Area Chamber of Commerce.

Famous residents and businesses

  • According to The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X spent part of his childhood in Mason. He was placed in a juvenile home in Mason in 1939 and completed 8th grade at Mason High School, where historical accounts indicate he received straight-"A" grades. [7] A famous anecdote of Malcolm X's life tells of a teacher who discouraged Malcolm of his dream of becoming a lawyer because of his race. However, sources vary on whether this was a Mason teacher. Malcom was taught public speaking by Howard McCowan, a very successful lawyer in Mason.
  • Former Mason resident Ltc. Amos Steele was one of the (relatively) few Union soldiers to be killed during Pickett's Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.[8] Steele Street and Steele Elementary School are named after him.
  • Mason is home to Kristin Haynie, a point guard with the Women's National Basketball Association. Haynie, a 2001 Mason High School graduate, was a 2005 first-round WNBA draft pick after leading Michigan State to the women's NCAA national championship game.
  • Mason is home to Dart Container, the largest manufacturer of foam cups and containers in the world. Dart is known for being vertically integrated, and is one of the largest privately owned corporations in Michigan.
  • John W. Longyear moved to Mason in 1844, where he taught school and studied law.
  • Fernando Henderson went to Mason High School in 1984. [8]


  1. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Mason, Michigan
  3. ^ U.S. Census Population Estimates, Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions, Minor Civil Divisions : 2000 to 2008, accessed July 9, 2009
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  5. ^ Shultz, Todd: Michigan History Magazine, issue January/February 2008, page 50.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  7. ^ Field Manual of Soil Engineering. Michigan. State Highway Dept. 1952. pp. 8. "The longest esker in Michigan is called the Mason esker and it extends from the outskirts of Lansing to a point beyond Mason"  
  8. ^ The Profile. Mason High School. November 1984. pp. 1. "Olympic Diver Enrolls as Student."  

External links



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