The Indians travel the trail to reach the maple trees on what would later be the Crapo Farm and to fish, fruit gathering and hunting while the trail terminated in the Lansing area.
The Miller Settlement, and future core Swartz Creek community, was found in 1836 by Adam Miller a German settler. In 1848, Miller Road was designed as a state road. in 1842, a post office was set up in the community called Swartz Creek after the stream. Soon, the community assumed that name. The Village of Swartz Creek subdivision was platted in 1877.
In 1881, Swartz Creek had a rail station called Hamilton. Serving the station was the Goodyear and Miller elevator and Western Union Telegraph. The locality also had a hotel run by William Brown, a Methodist church and a district school. The creek powered a saw mill and a flour mill at the time. Sommers & Brewer business was a manufacturer of potash.
The first Masonic Temple in the community was built in 1906 on Miller Road. By the 1910s, the unincorporated village's major industry was sugar beet farming with three beet weighing stations. An elevator and two churches were located there by 1916. A private bank, which was managed by Ira T. Sayre as part of a chain, was also open at that time.
In 1927, the community's downtown roads were paved with gravel supplied by the Crapo Gravel Company, which its current location is Winchester Lake. Electrical power was brought to the area that same year.
On Wednesday April 7, 1954 at about 7:40 PM, a small tornado hit the community. The tornado destroyed the fire hall, knocking down power lines and taking roofs off homes while only injuring two.
Otterburn was in Flint Township, had about 150 residents and had its own train depot that opened in 1882. The location was known as Otterburn as otters were generally seen there on the Swartz Creek, a burn. On August 27, 1887, Charles F. Shumway assumed the position of postmaster for the post office upon its opening. The post office closed on October 31, 1913. In 1957, a Chevrolet plant, which was also referred to as Otterburn, was built in this area for its service and parts operations moved from the west Flint Chevy in the Hole complex.
Crapo Farm was sold in 1955 after parts were donated for St. Mary's Cemetery and for Mary Crapo School. The Winchester Village subdivision was built on the former farm. Which was followed by another, Winchester Woods. Both were incorporated into the City of Swartz Creek in 1959 at its founding.
In 1950s, GM executive started a "New Flint" regional/metropolitan government plan to incorporate the metropolitan area into Flint. The proposal was released in 1957 and petition began circulating the next year. Area residents were fearful of the New Flint would take the Otterburn plant into its borders. While New Flint proponents indicated that that would not be the case, area residents campaigned against New Flint while moving to incorporate the area. The city was incorporated in 1969. The city included parts of Gaines, Clayton and Flint Townships (Otterburn).
In 1986, Sports Creek Raceway opened. The raceway was a harness racing track. The city received about $425 thousand a year from wager dollars until 1993 when John Engler became Michigan governor. Engler reduced cash flow from the casinos for two years until a new distribution formula allow the state to pay less, $126 to 118 thousand in the mid-2000s.
Gaines and Mundy Townships ceased contributing to cover building cost for the Swartz Creek Perkins Library in the 2000s, while Clayton Tonwship stopped their funding in 2011.
As early as 2006, Meijer was planning to locate in Swartz Creek. Construction finally started in September 2012 on the new prototype store. On May 16, 2013, the store opened on Morrish Road north of I-69.
In December 2013, the city council voted 4 to 3 to adopt a public safety special assessment district consisting of the whole city with a millage levy of 4.9 mills. While a referendum petition could take the assessment to the ballot, some residents threatened a recall. In January and February 2014, the city and Gaines Township was contact by Mundy Township Supervisor David L. Guigear in attempt to meet over regionalization of building department, code enforcement, janitorial and especial police.
Also in December 2013, City Manager Paul Bueche planned for a medical and disability leave from his job with the recommendation that an interim and permanent replacement be hired, city zoning administrator and DDA director Adam Zettel. Zettel was also assistant city manager for the city of Owosso and former assistant city manager for the city from 2006 to 2010. The city council accepted Bueche's recommendation and hired Zettel effective January 1, 2014. Bueche died on May 15, 2014.
Sport Creek Raceway was closed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board on January 1, 2015 when the raceway could not agree to terms with the Michigan Harness Horsemen's Association. Fourth precinct council member Michael Shumaker died on March 2, 2016 with his appointed temporary replacement being Jim Florence. A council member considered the city charter to have conflicting provisions thus bring into question an interim election in November.
A 5.7-mil property tax levy for streets was placed on the May 5, 2015 ballot that had a statewide street proposal. The city proposal failed 729 to 831. The city residents passed a street repair millage of 4.22 on May 3, 2016.
After 34 years of council service, Richard B. Abrams, last serving as mayor pro tem, did not seek reelection in November 2016. On January 9, 2016, the Swartz Creek City Council voted to disband its police department by merging the department with Mundy Township's into the Metro Police Authority of Genesee County effective February 1, 2016.
The city and Clayton Township operate a joint fire department, Swartz Creek Area Fire Department. The city provides a building that is shared by the senior center and Perkins Library, a branch of the Genesee District Library. The Genesee District Library levies .998 mills.
Genesee County Drain Commission provides water to the city. The city's territory is within the Swartz Creek Community Schools.
Fire protection is provided by the Swartz Creek Area Fire Department, a joint fire department of the City of Swartz Creek and Clayton Township.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.04 square miles (10.46 km2), all land.
The west branch of the Swartz Creek flows from west to east through the city, generally as the southern border for the east most third, toward the Flint River, leaving the southeast corner of Clayton Township separated from the rest of the township. Just south and parallel to the creek is the Canadian National Railway line, formerly the Grand Trunk line, which runs between Flint and Durand.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,758 people, 2,554 households, and 1,632 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,425.2 inhabitants per square mile (550.3/km2). There were 2,749 housing units at an average density of 680.4 per square mile (262.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.6% White, 5.1% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.3% of the population.
There were 2,554 households of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.5% were married couples living together, 17.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.1% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.80.
The median age in the city was 41 years. 22.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 20.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.8% male and 55.2% female.
At the 2000 census, there were 5,102 people, 2,233 households and 1,460 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,269.6 per square mile (490.0/km²). There were 2,355 housing units at an average density of 586.0/sq mi (226.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.83% White, 1.22% African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.43% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.10% of the population.
There were 2,233 households of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.6% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.6% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.82.
Age distribution was 22.3% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.8% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.9 males.
The median household income was $42,112, and the median family income was $52,147. Males had a median income of $46,442 versus $29,010 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,046. About 4.4% of families and 6.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.2% of those under age 18 and 4.8% of those age 65 or over.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Swartz Creek has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.Paul Spaniola I (2003-2013) is the only six times International Association of Pipe Smoking Clubs World Pipe Smoking Contest champion, a friend of Charles Stewart Mott and founding owner of the iconic Paul's Pipe Shop in Downtown Flint.