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Leslie is a city in Ingham County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,850 at the 2010 census. The city is surrounded by Leslie Township, but is politically autonomous.
The city of Leslie lies just east of U.S. 127 in Ingham County on gently rolling hills. The city is located 28 miles (45.0 kilometers) directly south of Lansing, and 17 miles (27.3 kilometers) directly north of Jackson.
There are numerous creeks that flow through the city. Huntoon Creek, draining out from Huntoon Lake off of East Kinneville carves its way through downtown Leslie and by the City Little League Baseball fields.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.3 square miles (3.4 km²), all land.
Leslie has developing city atmosphere. There are numerous new homes, subdivisions, and condominiums being built that encourage new residents. Main street, located down the major hill entering the city from the highway includes Indian Motorcycles, Moo's Bar and Grill, Crossroads Bar and Grill, Mitchell's Department Store, The Dressmaker's Shop, The Baker's Shoppe, Leslie Lanes bowling alley, Curves and Fox's Party Stores. Atop of the hill is the consumer area of the town where the grocery store Felpausch, hardware store Byrum Hardware, and Welcome Pharmacy is located. Restaurants include the renovated McDonalds and Leslie Depot Diner, a historical railroad depot that was restored into a restaurant. Three gas stations, Rich oil and two Marathon are inside the city limits. The city has numerous churches located in and around it. A major gathering area during the high school proms is the Gazebo located at the bottom of the hill entering the city on Bellevue street.
Leslie was first settled by Elijah Woodworth in 1836, who built the first log cabin in the city. It was originally named Meekerville after a famous pioneer to the area, Benjamin Meeker. Jerry G. Cornell named the town after a prominent Leslie family in eastern New York, his home state. The name Leslie was adopted officially when a post office was assigned to the area in 1841. Leslie was later incorporated as a village in 1869, and as a city nearly 100 years later in 1968.
* Frank L. White, who is believed to be the model for the chef on Cream of Wheat boxes, is buried in Leslie, MI at Woodlawn Cemetery.
* The 19th century anarchist and feminist Voltairine de Cleyre was born in Leslie.
Distance running has been prominent in Leslie. An annual road race is held mid August during the annual Blackhawk Festival at the high school that runs through the outskirts of the city and finishes on the track. Leslie High School Men's cross country running teams have won 14 consecutive championships [90, 91, 92 (Ingham County League) 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01, 02, 03 (Southern Michigan Athletic Association).
The new Leslie High School was built in 1996 at 4141 Hull Road to replace the first Leslie Public Schools building on Woodworth street, which was over 100 year old. The school district's mascot is the Leslie Blackhawks and the school colors are orange and black. Leslie's one public school has an average size graduating class that ranges between 100 to 130 students.
Also located in Leslie is White Pine Academy , a public school academy that is charted by Saginaw Valley State University. White Pine Academy was founded in 1999 by a group of local parents looking for a back to the basics curriculum and small class sizes. In 2005, White Pine Academy built a new facilite at 510 Russell St. White Pine Academy prides itself on providing a quality education and creating life long learners.
Every year, the town holds numerous parades and festivals. Memorial Day Parade in the Spring, Blackhawk day in the late summer, Homecoming Parade, and Christmas Light Parade are some of the events that take place. Occasionally, main street is closed off from Bellevue st. to the post office to serve as a center for the festivals. On the east side of the city there occasionally are tractor pull competitions. Halloween Trick or Treating is a very popular event that stirs up many unique decorations.
Things to do in Leslie
Russel Park Playscape and pavilions are normal gathering places in the city. Across from the park are the city basketball courts, A-Pool (diving pool and larger swimming pool) and the soccer/softball fields. Seasonal sports such as soccer, softball, little league baseball, and football are some activities youth may be involved in.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,044 people, 734 households, and 518 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,535.6 per square mile (593.4/km²). There were 783 housing units at an average density of 588.3/sq mi (227.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.04% White, 0.39% African American, 0.29% Native American, 0.68% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.98% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.38% of the population.
There were 734 households out of which 39.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.3% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 24.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.76 and the average family size was 3.31.
In the city the population was spread out with 31.4% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 8.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 94.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $42,700, and the median income for a family was $48,162. Males had a median income of $36,771 versus $22,600 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,124. About 4.9% of families and 7.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.7% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
1. American FactFinder. United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
2. US Board on Geographic Names. United States Geological Survey (2007-10-25). Retrieved on 2008-01-31.
3. Rolly Olney, Leslie City Manager, information received January 8, 2006.