The Village of Stockbridge is located in the southeast corner of Ingham County. Stockbridge is serviced by state highways 52 and 106. It is a village of some 1,260 individuals per the 2000 federal census. The first settlers arrived in the area in 1835. Elijah Smith, who had entered land in the area, laid out a town site which he proposed to name Pekin.
Before the plat was registered, Silas Beebe bought him out for $25.00 an acre. Mr. Beebe, along with Ira Wood, added 20 acres to the original 80 acre plat, replatted the site and registered it with the County Register of Deeds in 1843. The original village extended from Morton Street on the north to Rice Street on the south and from Wood Street on the west to Williams Street on the east. The village was not formally incorporated until 1889. Mr. Beebe apparently bought the town site because he felt the railroad was about to come through. Mr. Smith apparently sold the town site because he knew the railroad wasn’t about to come through. Mr. Smith turned out to be correct as the railroad didn’t arrive until 1883. The arrival of the railroad ushered in what were called “boom times”. The business district rapidly expanded as Stockbridge became a commercial center for the area. The railroad tracks were taken up in the 1970’s and the line through Stockbridge is now part of the Lakeland Trails State Park.
Electricity came to Stockbridge in 1910. Electricity was originally available only in the business district and then only in the evening. Gradually, residential customers were added and 24-hour service became available by 1912. Natural gas came to the village in 1951. In 1912, the village water department was formed with the drilling of three deep wells and the erection of a water tower behind the village offices on Elizabeth Street. A new water tower has since been built at the Memorial Park. A bond issue was passed in 1963 for a sanitary sewer system and sewage disposal facility. That project was completed in 1966.
The first fire department in the area was a volunteer fire department organized in 1889 shortly after the burning of the hotel. This fire department was equipped with a two-man pump and hose which could throw water at a fairly high pressure, should water be available. This problem was solved with the erection of the water tower in 1912 when a horse cart and hose were purchased. Prior to 1889, a fire was signaled by the ringing of church bells when all able bodied men would turn out to form a bucket brigade.
Telephone service came to Stockbridge in the 1890’s with the installation of a pay phone in the W.E. Brown store on East Main Street. Expansion of telephone service came in fits and starts. The Rural Telephone Company came into being in 1931 but the system didn’t really become satisfactory until the early 1950’s.