Monroe County, MI Area Guide

 
Monroe County is the most southeastern county in Michigan. As the gateway to the state, Monroe County provides a pleasant mix of urban and rural surroundings. The county is rich in historical heritage and is well situated between the three major metropolitan centers of Detroit, Ann Arbor and Toledo. As of 2000, Monroe County was home to approximately 146,000 people.

Monroe County is Michigan’s only county situated on Lake Erie. Boating and fishing are popular along coastal ports such as South Rockwood, Estral Beach, Monroe, and Luna Pier. The lakeshore region features a unique ecology found nowhere else in Michigan, with shallow marshes and inlets, rich in waterfowl wildlife; a favorite for birdwatchers and duck hunters.

There are also many industries in Monroe County, including auto-parts manufacturing, metal fabrication, cement, packaging and glass production. The Fermi Nuclear Power Plant plays a major role in supplying power to the area.

History

Monroe County was named for President James Monroe, in anticipation of his 1817 visit to the Michigan Territory. At this time, Toledo was part of Monroe County, but later lost during what is known as the 1835 Toledo War, where Ohio and Michigan fought over a 500 square mile strip of land that included the mouth of Maumee River. In exchange, Michigan got the Upper Peninsula, which was then considered a wilderness.

Today the county is a rich agricultural area noted for soybeans, grains, corn, sugar beets, potatoes and alfalfa.

Parks and Recreation

The mission of the Monroe County Parks and Recreation Department is to plan, acquire, develop and maintain, in cooperation with all interested individuals and groups, a responsive, efficient, and creative natural resource based park and recreation system available to all citizens. The department strives to provide a variety of services, park areas and special facilities that contribute to the well-being of the community’s residents and visitors.

Heck Park

Heck Park is a park that is under the sole ownership of Monroe County. A Vietnam Veterans Memorial has been developed at the site which is overseen by a special Heck Park Committee, which has members from the Park Commission, the County Board, and the Vietnam Veterans Chapter 142.

Loranger Square Pavilion

Loranger Square Pavilion located in downtown Monroe. The pavilion is available for rental by contacting the Finance Office. The cost is $50.00 per use.

Vienna Park

Vienna Park has a small pond and natural area as well as active recreational facilities. A 1999 grant also allowed for the development of trails and new play equipment at this park. All five baseball fields have upgraded fencing for foul lines and backstops.

Nike Park

Nike Park was originally part of a World War II Nike missile base and was acquired from the federal government. An area of this park was recently tiled and four soccer fields were developed. The park also features a picnic area, play equipment, and large areas of open space.

Waterloo Park

Waterloo Park is located on the River Raisin at the end of Mulhollen Drive in Monroe Township. The park covers 9 acres and features many facilities, including a fishing pier, paved path, exercise equipment and playground.

West County Park

The West County Park site consists of 60 acres in Dundee Township. Most of West County Park fronts the River Raisin and was formerly mostly farmland, in 2002 and was planted to a mixture of native trees, shrubs, grasses, and wildflowers. Additional proposed improvements include hiking trails and a parking area.

Attractions

Monroe County is home to many intriguing attractions, including some of the area’s best bird watching and other outdoor activities. Bring your family and friends out to experience all that Monroe County has to offer and create memories that will last a lifetime!

Monroe County Historical Museum

The Monroe County Historical Museum is located in the heart of downtown Monroe. This Georgian style public building was built as a post office in 1910. It was acquired in 1972 by the La-Z-Boy Chair Foundation as the second home for the Museum. Founded in 1938 by the Monroe County Historical Society, the museum is presently operated by the Monroe County Historical Commission. It houses one of the largest collections of 18th and 19th century artifacts relating to Southeast Michigan.

Bird Watching

Erie Shores Birding Association (ESBA) extends an invitation to all birders to join other watchers in the fascinating sport of birding. ESBA of Monroe, Michigan, was organized in September of 1986 for the purpose of promoting the observation and study of birds and other related wildlife, their environment and their conservation.

Fishing/Boating

Welcome to “The Walleye Capitol of the World.” Monroe County invites you to visit Historic Monroe County to fish in the ” Sweetest Freshwater Sea” as described by outdoor writer Mark Hicks. With over fifty miles of shorelines, the western basin of Lake Erie is one of the most popular areas for walleye in the world. Come on and catch a few!

River Raisin Centre for the Arts

The River Raisin Centre for the Arts prides themselves on their education programs, where the learning of performing arts skills is emphasized. The River Raisin Centre presents and produces quality entertainment, which is contingent upon the generous support of donors, sponsors and grant foundations. Whether you want to learn to dance, sing, play an instrument or act, the River Raisin Centre for the Arts has certified, experienced, award-winning teachers that will work with you to help you meet your goals.

The La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theater

The La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theater serves as a focal point for major community events and conferences. Through a series or partnerships with civic, educational, and governmental entities, this facility creates a place for civic discourse and interaction. The La-Z-Boy Center Meyer Theater will become an educational and cultural destination, one that encompasses all of Monroe County.

Events

River Raisin Jazz Festival

This River Raisin Jazz Festival has been called the fastest growing music festival in the Great Lakes Region. The festival has featured world class jazz performers like Grammy Award Winner Chuck Mangione, Jazz legends Spyro Gyra, Smooth Jazz #1 Artist Peter White, Pieces of a Dream, Nelson Rangell, Stanley Jordan and many more.

Monroe County Fair

The Monroe County Fair became a permanent fixture in the hearts of Monroe County residents in 1947, located on the corner of South Custer and Raisinville Roads. The fair was renamed the Monroe County Fair Association, created to promote youth, education, agriculture, and commerce throughout Monroe County.