Monroe County covers 551 square miles in the lower, southeastern corner of Michigan. It is bounded by Wayne County to the north, Washtenaw County to the northwest, Lenawee County to the west, and Lucas County, Ohio, (Toledo) to the south. The City of Monroe, which is the county seat, lies adjacent to I-75, just about equidistant from Detroit and Toledo. Monroe County, with a population (2000) of 134,000 people, is made up of 14 townships, five villages, and four cities.
Monroe County is has nine public school districts. Monroe Public Schools is the largest district in Monroe County, with some 6,400 students, about 30 percent of all students in the county. Monroe Public Schools has buildings in the City of Monroe and in the townships of Raisinville, Monroe Charter, and Frenchtown Charter.
Monroe County has a rich tradition steeped in its agricultural heritage, and at one time was home to various automobile industry factories and related supplier businesses. With three power plants – including the third-largest coal-fired plant in the world, DTE Energy’s Monroe Power Plant -- Monroe County boasts more electrical generating capacity than any other county in the country. The world headquarters of the La-Z-Boy Chair Company is located in Monroe, and Monroe Auto Equipment, producers of Monroe-Matic Shock Absorbers, got is start in Monroe. Tenneco Automotive which now manufactures the Monroe brand of shock absorbers has an office here.
Famous people who have called Monroe home include General George Armstrong Custer, the youngest man in U.S. Army history to attain the rank of general; Kaye Lani Rae Rafko Wilson, Miss America 1988, who is widely considered the greatest Miss America ever; Matt Urban, one of the country’s most highly decorated World War II heroes, and Elizabeth Upham McWebb (Aunt Bett), who wrote the Little Brown Bear series of children’s books. The community – and Monroe Public Schools, in particular – also has produced Olympic athletes, well-known authors, respected and widely renowned medical researchers, numerous war heroes and military leaders, radio personalities, members of the clergy, leading educators, and many captains of industry.