Brief History of Romulus

Diverse pioneers settled area

The exact origin of the City's name remains a mystery. Local legend persists, however, that the presence of large numbers of wolves in the area reminded the first few  visionary settlers of the Greek myth sorrounding Romulus and Remus.  These mythical characters were said to have been nursed and raised by a wolf.

In fact, according to the minutes of the first Township meeting, officers voted to enact a "$2 bounty on every wolf  'catched' in the Town of Romulus...."

Read the offical minutes from Romulus' first township meeting.
First Township Meeting Minutes

The earliest settlers came to the Romulus area in 1827. The city was originally a part of Huron Township, an area that consisted of present day Romulus,  Sumpter and Van Buren Townships.

On March 17, 1835, Romulus was organized by action of the Michigan legislature as a separate Township. One year later, a village plat for "Pullen's Corners" was recorded, its location being in Section 19 at the intersection that is now commonly called "Five Points."

"Pullen's Corners" was the official post office designation for the village until 1871. The combined general store and post office remained the only commercial establishment in the Township during this period.

When the Flint & Pere Marquette Railroad (now known as B&O/C&O) was extended through the Township, its stop became known as the "Romulus Station."  The U.S. Government soon began using this name for the local post office.

In an historic document, Farmer's History-Personal Sketches of Romulus, 41 original pioners were listed.  Those settlers named included three from Wayne County, five from England, fourteen from Germany, five from Ireland, two from Scotland, and one from another area of Michigan. The remaining eleven came from miscellaneous areas, most of which were in New York State.

Underground Railroad

The African-American community has been an integral part of Romulus since the mid-nineteenth century. In fact, the last living Romulus Civil War veteran was a African American man who had accompanied the 24th Michigan Infantry into battle as a twelve-year old boy.

In 1854, the Romulus Union Church Society was organized for the purposed of constructing a building for use by all denominations.  This building still stands and is known as "the White Church."  It is located at "Five Points", the intersection of Huron River Drive, Goddard Road, Grand Road and Ozga Road.

This Union Church is thought to have been a stop along the "underground railroad."  Such sanctuaries assisted run-away slaves on their often dangerous quest for freedom from the pre-Civil War South.  These slaves traveled to the Northern States and also into Canada where any and all aspects of slavery were considered illegal and morally repugnant.

Life in the 1800s

Following the Civil War, Romulus could no longer be called a "pioneer town" since the Township had developed into an agricultural community consisting of many small farms.

An 1866, a local resident's diary tells of numerous communities activities including quilting bees, dances, church socials, oyster suppers, cooperative haying and much more.

Group singing lessons were a good excuse for the young people of the area to get together, and church socials were often held as fund raising events to pay the minister's salary.

In 1888, there were seven school districts, each with one or two-room buildings typical for the time.  Each was governed by its own "school inspector" or by a small three-member board. Teachers lived with the neighboring families and children were honored when it was their turn to "have teacher."

Records show that in the late 1800s the district had 15 teachers, four male and eleven female teachers instructing 400 boys and girls who attended school throughout the Township.

Township government, regulated by Michigan statute pertaining to townships, proceeded without interruption from 1835 until late into next century when Romulus became a recognized city.

In 1872, the first Township Hall was constructed at a cost of $500.  It was located on the southeast corner of Goddard and Vining Roads, a location almost exactly at the geographical center of the Township. The "Township Hall" on Goddard Road, formerly the Grange Hall and was first used for municipal offices in 1931.

Life in the 1900s


The first library in Romulus, established in 1923, consisted of 204 books lining the few shelves of a "Sweet Shop & Confectionery."  The shop's proprietor provided the necessary library services. Then, as now, the Romulus Library was a branch of the Wayne County Library System.

Romulus has traditionally supported athletes and athletic activities. At one time, baseball was king in Romulus and a number of local teams often played against teams of semi-professional caliber.

Business was often neglected on days when the national pastime was being played out on the baseball diamond. The athletic tradition of Romulus continues today with a number of current and retired NBA basketball players having been born and raised in Romulus.

Major transportation developments since 1930 have been the construction of the Willow Run Expressway - now know as I-94.  The new freeway carried workers from Detroit to the "Bomber Plant" at Willow Run Airport, which at first only included a small section of land.

Between 1946 and 1950, the airport was expanded to an area of four square miles.  Since then, the County renamed the airport Detroit Metropolitan Airport and has purchased considerably more land for airport expansion.

A favorable vote by the electorate officially created the City of Romulus in May, 1970.

21st Century Romulus

Today, Romulus is a thriving city that offers its residents a unique lifestyle.  The area features plenty of wide open spaces for home sites, a cozy downtown district, and quick access to major highways and the state's airport hub.

Romulus offers small town appeal with all the advantages of big city style.  This forward-thinking community is in close proximity to cultural, entainment and pro sports activities in nearby Ann Arbor, Lansing and Detroit.  In addition, various public and private universities are within an easy commute from the city.

 


 

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11111 Wayne Road | Romulus, Michigan 48174 | 734.942.7540