Founded in 1785 and the site of a War of 1812 battlefield, Monroe is a community that has a shared vision that seeks to balance the opportunities of economic development with the stewardship that is required for historic preservation. Monroe is also Michigan's third oldest community. With a population of nearly 23,000, Monroe is located about 17-miles north of Toledo, Ohio and about 35-miles south of Detroit. The City of Monroe was incorporated in 1817 and is also the county seat of Monroe County. Monroe's location on the west shore of Lake Erie and its River Raisin made it a natural crossroads for food and transportation that attracted the Potawatomi Tribe of Indians who first lived here. Later, French missionaries, fur trappers, and settlers came for the same reasons. Residents and visitors today continue to find Monroe to be a welcoming crossroads of historic and natural treasures. The city is home to the National Register of Historic Places War of 1812 River Raisin Battlefield. Monroe's natural environment is showcased and preserved by having the 260-acre Eagle Island Marsh unit of the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge located in it. And the inland sea of Lake Erie offers boating, swimming, camping, wetlands exploration, hiking, and fishing, at the 1,300-acre Sterling State Park on the shores of Lake Erie.