Wacousta, an unincorporated village, was started in 1837 prior to the settlement of the northern part of lower Michigan. It is 11 miles northwest of Lansing in Clinton County. Looking Glass River skirts the section edge of the village. It was the river that was instrumental in the founding of Wacousta.

Wacousta was named after an Indian maiden “who during the Conspiracy of Pontiac in 1763, informed Major Gladwin, the commandant at Detroit, that the Indians of her tribe planned to massacre the garrison at the fort, after making a surprise attack, following a show of friendliness. Her information permitted the commandant to deploy his forces and forestall what might have been a major catastrophe for the United States troops. Those who founded the village intended to name it “Waterloo” and actually submitted that name to the post office department for ratification, but it was learned that a town of that name already existed in Michigan and, as some earlier settler having an admiration for the character of the historic Indian Maiden, Wacousta, suggested the name as a substitute, and it was at once adopted. (The Lansing State Journal, August 30, 1942)

It having been discovered by the many sharp curves and circuitous flowing of the Looking Glass River at this point and for some distance above, that the development of a mill power was possible; an association was formed in July 1837, with the avowed purpose of organizing a company, to be known as “Waterloo Joint Stock Company”. Stockholders were brought together and purchased a tract of land in Watertown, describes as “lying upon the Looking Glass River”. The object of this purchase, as stated in the Articles of Agreement, was the improvement of the real estate, and the laying out of a town therein, and the disposal of lots for building purposes.

Wacousta has continued the heritage of being a tight knit village with yearly chicken dinners, carnivals, canoe races, parades and celebrations. A visit to Wacousta today will find two large beautiful parks along the Looking Glass River, an award winning playground at the local elementary school open to the public, small shops and very active scouting programs at our two scout camps also located along the river.