In 1822 Normam Little first came to the “Saginaws” with is father who had purchased land her but after seeing the swamps and being bitten by all the mosquitoes he quickly sold his land and told Norman “there is no future here”. Norman Little still believed in Saginaw and in 1836, Norman Little came upriver by steamboat with his wife, Jane and some craftsmen with their tools, and Norman Little set off to build a city. He started a steamship run from Buffalo, N.Y. to Saginaw to bring immigrants to the city and built a hotel he called the Webster House.
By 1838 many people had given up on Saginaw but Norman was determined to see the city grow an prosper. With funding and support from Jesse Hoyt, he built a sawmill along the bank of the Saginaw River that cut planks for a road from Saginaw to Flint. It was this road that allowed people to travel to Saginaw and continue the expansion of East Saginaw. Little was also credited with starting the first bank and printed the first money in the city of Saginaw and starting the short-lived Saginaw Journal, organizing three churches, building the first school on the East Side, and helping to found the salt industry here.
He lived in Saginaw up until his mysterious death in November of 1859. Little stepped out of his home on Water Street and jumped into the Saginaw River. Witnesses reported Little seemed “very cheerful” before walking to the dock of his mill alongside the river and jumping in. It is believed Little was under the influence of medicinal drinks of the time that contained cocaine.
Get Email updates