From Michigan Place Names
Judge Jefferson Morrison purchased land here in 1836. He sold part to Dwight & Hutchinson of Detroit, who platted the village. The P.O. opened in 1839, but the village grew slowly until the D. & Mil. Railroad arrived in 1857. This became a railroad and shipping center, with products including flour, lumber, hides, felloes (the rim of a spoked wheel), barrels, and staves. Incorporated as a village in 1869, named after a NY resort town, in an attempt to attract settlers from that state. Saranac, also the name of a lake and a river in NY State, is probably taken from a Wyandotte Indian word, the meaning unknown.
Saranac had its roots in 1836, when a Grand Rapids judge by the name of Jefferson Morrison purchased the land where Lake Creek meets the Grand River. Soon after, he sold parts of the land to Dwight & Hutchinson from Detroit, and together, they founded the village. Proceeding quickly, the proprietors named it Saranac and held a public sale in Detroit. There they sold off many Saranac lots without doing much to ensure the integrity of their original records. Soon after, Dwight & Hutchinson became concerned over the lack of development of the village by the lot-purchasers and gave Cyprian S. Hooker land on which to build a saw mill. Construction began in 1837, but didn't see completion until 1841. Partnering with a furniture maker named Jerry Stocking, the two set out to make their fortunes in the new village. However, they did not find success, and in 1846, the gentlemen gave up and moved away. Other villagers followed suit, convinced the village was doomed. In 1847, a merchant named Ammon Wilson moved in and set up shop on Stocking's former property and later built a warehouse to ship wheat to Grand Rapids, which saw considerable success. The village grew around it; a tavern and a hotel soon followed. In 1851, proprietors of the sold-off lots were allowed to re-dub the township "Boston", due to an oversight in Dwight & Hutchinson's records and it wouldn't be until 1859 that popular demand would see the name changed back to "Saranac". Schools, stores, and churches, followed in the subsequent years. In 1857, the first train to reach Saranac rolled through, marking a significant period of growth for the village. Lorren Denman a noted kiln operator also was raised in Saranac.