The town of Buchanan was named by a miller, John Hamilton, who platted and recorded it in the county seat at Berrien Springs in 1842. Hamilton chose the name in honor of Senator James Buchanan of Pennsylvania, who later became the 15th President of the United States. It was incorporated on March 3, 1858 with the population at the time estimated at about 860.
Buchanan is organized under the Home Rule Act of Michigan, which authorizes cities to formulate their own charter provisions. It has a commission form of government with five-elected commissioners and a city manager as the chief administrative officer. The city is divided into four voting precincts.
Located just 13 miles northwest of South Bend, Indiana, 90 miles east of Chicago, and 200 miles west of Detroit, the entire Midwest is accessible with the East-West Indiana Toll Road situated 1 mile south of Buchanan and Michigan’s freeway, Interstate 94, beginning just 15 miles west of the city limits.
Buchanan has its own supply of water coming from three wells with a total of 24 miles of mains and a tertiary sewage plant, built to serve 15,000 people. Gas is provided by Semco Energy and electricity by American Electric Power.
Buchanan has three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The middle school consists of grades 6, 7, and 8. The high school, newly renovated in 1993-94, has had continuous North Central accreditation since 1924. The Buchanan School District includes the City of Buchanan, and parts of Buchanan, Niles, Bertrand and Oronoko Townships. Buchanan schools are participants in the State of Michigan Schools of Choice program.
Institutions of higher learning are within easy driving distances of the city. They include: University of Notre Dame, St. Mary’s College, Bethel College and Indiana University in South Bend, Indiana; Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Two community colleges -- Lake Michigan College of Benton Harbor and Southwestern Michigan College of Dowagiac – established campuses in nearby Niles and offer expanded degree programs.
Buchanan provides many athletic and recreational programs for children and teens through the Community Education Office and the Buchanan Area Recreation Board. Some of those include baseball and softball leagues, indoor hockey, basketball, T-Ball, Little League, Pony League, Rocket Football, Optimist Soccer League, and summer programs