Musgrove Evans platted this area in 1827. The first settlers, Erastus and Sally Ingersoll and their twelve children, did not arrive until 1835. The township was organized in 1842. At the first township meeting, citizens chose the name Delta and elected Ingersoll’s to nine of the nineteen township offices. They also appropriated “$100 for bridges and roads” and decreed that bulls and boar hogs must be fenced in. By 1887 the area was mainly supported by farming and grist and sawmills. The clapboard township hall, erected in the mid-1870s, served the township until 1955. A combination fire chief’s residence and township hall was built to replace it on the site of the old Soper one-room schoolhouse, one mile north of the earlier structure.
Delta Charter Township
Between 1940 and 1987 Delta Township’s population zoomed from 2618 to 28,000, and its state tax evaluation increased from $1.48 million to $475 million. Charter status, attained in 1962, helped fuel the explosion that gave Delta Township the moniker “fastest growing township in Michigan.” Local government service are now directed from this building, which was completed in 1970. As farms became residential subdivisions and apartment complexes, the township created an extensive recreational facility. The Sands Moon house, a log cabin built around 1855, was moved to Woldumar Nature Center in 1980, when a large industrial plant was built on its original site. There it became a walk-in demonstration museum commemorating Delta’s early pioneers.
Erastus S. Ingersoll settled here in 1836 and constructed a water-powered sawmill. A gristmill was added, and in 1840 a resident wrote that people came from twenty miles around to have their flour made. A school modeled after Oberlin college was chartered as the “Grand River Theological Seminary,” but never opened. Platted as Grand River City in 1841, the village was commonly called Delta Mills after the township and main industry. The mill operated into the twentieth century.
Delta Mills School
On this site in 1839, residents of Delta Mills built their first school. A one-room woodframe structure, it could seat sixty-five. In 1940 the building was remodeled and a second classroom was added. Although the township district was annexed to the Grand Ledge School District in 1956, grades one through eight continued to be taught in the old building until 1958. That year, the old schoolhouse was replaced with a modern structure which served students until 1982.
Delta Center Methodist Church
In 1837, Methodists in Delta Township began meeting in a log schoolhouse. Served by circuit riders, they organized as a Methodist class in 1842 with two families. The class grew, and in 1865 the Reverend J. Gulic became its first appointed minister. On June 6, 1867, a Ladies Aid Society was formed to raise funds to build an adequate place of worship. The church, completed in 1873, was significantly enlarged in 1926 and 1954. During a special conference in the summer of 1962, delegates from Delta Center and nearby Bethel and Millet voted to merge their three churches. The first meeting of the newly formed church was held at Delta Center Methodist Church on June 24, 1962. The name Trinity Methodist Church was adopted on July 5, 1962.
The original white frame church that stood just northwest of the present church was designed by Darius B. Moon, a native of Delta Township, in 1873. Members of the congregation donated labor and much of the building material. The 30′ x 50′ structure, which cost $340, served area Methodists for 110 years. When completed it was a crisp, clean, simple rectangular building with a central entrance and rectangular windows. It was topped by a square louvered belfry, with bracketed cornice and turned up finial capping. The last regular worship service in the frame church was held on March 10, 1968. The congregation used the old church as a fellowship hall until it was razed on May 18, 1983.