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Roscommon County, Michigan
Roscommon County Building (Michigan).jpg
Roscommon County Building in Roscommon
Map of Michigan highlighting Roscommon County
Location in the state of Michigan
Map of the U.S. highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1840 (created)
1875 (organized)[1]
Named for County Roscommon, Ireland
Seat Roscommon
Largest city Houghton Lake
Roscommon (incorporated)
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

580 sq mi (1,502 km²)
520 sq mi (1,347 km²)
60 sq mi (155 km²), 10%
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

23,459
47/sq mi (18/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Roscommon County ( /rɒsˈkɒmən/ RAHS-comm-ən) is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 23,459.[2] The county seat is Roscommon.[3] The county was founded in 1840 and organized in 1875.[1]

History[]

A detail from A New Map of Michigan with its Canals, Roads & Distances (1842) by Henry Schenck Tanner, showing Roscommon County as "Mickenauk" (a misspelling of Mikenauk, the county's name from 1840 to 1843.[4]) Several nearby counties are also shown with names that would later be changed.

The county was formed by the Michigan Legislature in 1840 as Mikenauk County, then renamed Roscommon County in 1843. It was administered by Michilimackinac (Mackinac), Cheboygan, and Midland counties, in succession, prior to the organization of county government in 1875.[4] Roscommon County was named after County Roscommon, Ireland.[1][5]

There are three official Michigan historical markers in the county:[6]

  • Gerrish
  • Pioneer House
  • Terney House[7]

Geography[]

According to the US Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 580 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 520 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 60 square miles (160 km2) (10%) is water.[8] Roscommon County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan. Part of Michigan's Au Sable State Forest falls within the county. The US Forest Service's Roscoe Fire Management Unit includes Ogemaw and Roscommon Counties.

Geographic features[]

During prehistoric times, glacial action helped shape the Michigan-area terrain. A large portion of the area is the Grayling outwash plain, which includes sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.[9]

Prominent geographic features include:

  • Au Sable River
  • Backus Creek
  • Cut River
  • Dead Stream Flooding
  • Higgins Lake
  • Houghton Lake
  • Houghton Lake Flats
  • Lake St. Helen
  • Marl Lake
  • Roscommon Virgin Pine Stand – a 160-acre (650,000 m2) parcel within the Au Sable State Forest, 8 miles (13 km) north of St. Helen, Michigan, and 8 miles east of Roscommon. An old-growth stand of red pine, which includes a former national champion red pine.[10]
  • Underground oil deposits

Major highways[]

  • I-73 (future)
  • I-75 – runs south, SE, and east through the NE middle portion of county.
  • US 127 – runs north–south through west portion of county. Passes on west side of Higgins and Houghton Lakes.
  • M-18 – runs north–south through center of county. Passes Roscommon and Prudenville. Leaving Roscommon, runs east along north line of county for 5.6 miles (9 km) before turning to NE.
  • M-55 – runs east–west through center of county to intersection with I75, 7 miles (11 km) west of east line of county.
  • M-157 – short (1.1 mile/1.8 km) north-south spur connecting M18 to M55, east of Houghton Lake.
  • F-18 – runs south from Prudenville. Exits the county on the line between Clare and Gladwin counties.[11]

Airports[]

  • Houghton Lake State Airport is located in Roscommon Township.
  • Roscommon County–Blodgett Memorial Airport is located in Markey Township.

Adjacent counties[]

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1880 1,459
1890 2,033 39.3%
1900 1,787 −12.1%
1910 2,274 27.3%
1920 2,032 −10.6%
1930 2,055 1.1%
1940 3,668 78.5%
1950 5,916 61.3%
1960 7,200 21.7%
1970 9,892 37.4%
1980 16,374 65.5%
1990 19,776 20.8%
2000 25,469 28.8%
2010 24,449 −4.0%
US Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2020[2]

As of the 2000 United States Census,[16] there were 25,469 people, 11,250 households, and 7,616 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km2). There were 23,109 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.99% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.4% were of German, 12.7% English, 9.9% Irish, 9.2% Polish, 9.2% American and 6.7% French ancestry. 97.2% spoke English as their first language. Those citing "American" ancestry in Roscommon County are of overwhelmingly English extraction, however most English Americans identify simply as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in some cases since the 1600s.[17][18][19][20][21]

There were 11,250 households, out of which 21.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.69.

The county population contained 20.00% under the age of 18, 5.50% from 18 to 24, 21.40% from 25 to 44, 29.30% from 45 to 64, and 23.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,029, and the median income for a family was $35,757. Males had a median income of $31,878 versus $20,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,837. About 8.60% of families and 12.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.90% of those under age 18 and 6.50% of those age 65 or over.

Religion[]

Government[]

Roscommon County voters tend to vote Republican; they have selected the Republican Party nominee in 74% of national elections (25 of 34).

United States presidential election results for Roscommon County, Michigan[24]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 9,670 64.32% 5,166 34.36% 198 1.32%
2016 8,141 62.16% 4,287 32.74% 668 5.10%
2012 6,701 51.24% 6,198 47.40% 178 1.36%
2008 6,727 47.72% 7,082 50.24% 287 2.04%
2004 7,364 51.28% 6,810 47.43% 185 1.29%
2000 6,190 47.88% 6,433 49.76% 305 2.36%
1996 4,135 34.94% 6,092 51.48% 1,607 13.58%
1992 4,170 34.73% 5,243 43.67% 2,594 21.60%
1988 5,866 56.93% 4,394 42.65% 43 0.42%
1984 6,419 65.35% 3,359 34.20% 45 0.46%
1980 5,280 54.66% 3,763 38.96% 616 6.38%
1976 4,608 54.85% 3,691 43.94% 102 1.21%
1972 4,136 64.17% 2,187 33.93% 122 1.89%
1968 2,635 55.91% 1,639 34.78% 439 9.31%
1964 1,722 42.27% 2,345 57.56% 7 0.17%
1960 2,731 68.93% 1,226 30.94% 5 0.13%
1956 2,674 76.20% 827 23.57% 8 0.23%
1952 2,547 78.64% 676 20.87% 16 0.49%
1948 2,055 73.89% 687 24.70% 39 1.40%
1944 1,292 72.22% 484 27.05% 13 0.73%
1940 1,360 64.21% 739 34.89% 19 0.90%
1936 836 49.64% 782 46.44% 66 3.92%
1932 601 42.62% 757 53.69% 52 3.69%
1928 780 76.25% 236 23.07% 7 0.68%
1924 484 69.64% 99 14.24% 112 16.12%
1920 652 75.29% 182 21.02% 32 3.70%
1916 311 53.44% 239 41.07% 32 5.50%
1912 134 22.60% 150 25.30% 309 52.11%
1908 427 69.43% 147 23.90% 41 6.67%
1904 373 71.46% 116 22.22% 33 6.32%
1900 327 64.50% 175 34.52% 5 0.99%
1896 282 65.43% 141 32.71% 8 1.86%
1892 239 44.26% 286 52.96% 15 2.78%
1888 360 50.00% 358 49.72% 2 0.28%
1884 427 48.80% 435 49.71% 13 1.49%


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, records deeds, mortgages, and vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget and has limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Elected officials[]

  • Prosecuting Attorney: Mary Beebe
  • Sheriff: Ed Stern
  • County Clerk/Register of Deeds: Michelle Stevenson
  • County Treasurer: Rebecca A. Ragan
  • Drain Commissioner: Rex Wolfsen

(information as of January 2021)

Attractions and events[]

The community is centered in the area of two very large lakes, in the middle of large state forests. Wildlife are nearby, including bear, deer, eagles, Kirtland's warblers, and turkeys. Local attractions and activities include:

  • Birding
  • Bluegill Festival each summer in St. Helen
  • Boating, paddling (canoe and kayak)
  • Firemen's Memorial Festival, an annual event (September) since 1979.[25]
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Kirtland Warbler Habitat and Festival is an annual (held in May) event hosted by Kirtland Community College.[26]
  • Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail, a 500-mile (800 km) system of interconnected trails, passes through the area. It runs from Empire to Oscoda, and points beyond.[27]
  • Nordic skiing
  • ORV and groomed snowmobile trails
  • Sailing
  • Tip-up-town winter festival, Houghton Lake, an annual event (held in January).[28]

Communities[]

U.S. Census data map showing local municipal boundaries within Roscommon County

Village[]

  • Roscommon (county seat)

Civil townships[]

  • Au Sable Township
  • Backus Township
  • Denton Township
  • Gerrish Township
  • Higgins Township
  • Lake Township
  • Lyon Township
  • Markey Township
  • Nester Township
  • Richfield Township
  • Roscommon Township

Census-designated places[]

  • Houghton Lake
  • Prudenville
  • St. Helen

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Higgins Lake
  • Houghton Lake Heights
  • Keno

See also[]

References[]

  1. ^ a b c "Bibliography on Roscommon County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. https://www.cmich.edu/library/clarke/AccessMaterials/Bibliographies/MichiganLocalHistory/Pages/roscommon.aspx. 
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/roscommoncountymichigan/POP010220. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  4. ^ a b Newberry Library. "Michigan: Individual County Chronologies". http://publications.newberry.org/ahcbp/documents/MI_Individual_County_Chronologies.htm. 
  5. ^ Michigan History, Arts and Libraries on sources of County names.
  6. ^ "Michigan Historical Markers". michmarkers.com. http://www.michmarkers.com/Frameset.htm. 
  7. ^ "Terney House". http://www.michmarkers.com/Pages/L0631.htm. 
  8. ^ "2010 Census GazetteerFiles". US Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. https://www.census.gov/geo/maps-data/data/docs/gazetteer/counties_list_26.txt. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy". http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/resource/habitat/rlandscp/s7-2-2.htm.  Michigan regional geology
  10. ^ "Roscommon Red Pines". Michigan Department of Natural Resources. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-30301_31154_31260-54027--,00.html. 
  11. ^ Roscommon County MI Google Maps (accessed 6 September 2018)
  12. ^ "US Decennial Census". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/decennial-census.html. 
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/mi190090.txt. 
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  17. ^ "Ancestry of the Population by State: 1980 - Table 3". https://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/files/pc80-s1-10/tab03.pdf. 
  18. ^ Sharing the Dream: White Males in a Multicultural America By Dominic J. Pulera.
  19. ^ Reynolds Farley, 'The New Census Question about Ancestry: What Did It Tell Us?', Demography, Vol. 28, No. 3 (August 1991), pp. 414, 421.
  20. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Lawrence Santi, 'The Use of Nativity Data to Estimate Ethnic Characteristics and Patterns', Social Science Research, Vol. 14, No. 1 (1985), pp. 44-6.
  21. ^ Stanley Lieberson and Mary C. Waters, 'Ethnic Groups in Flux: The Changing Ethnic Responses of American Whites', Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol. 487, No. 79 (September 1986), pp. 82-86.
  22. ^ "The Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan : A Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church - Diocese of Gaylord". http://www.dioceseofgaylord.org/. 
  23. ^ Worship With Us: Church Locator ComeUntoChrist.org (accessed 6 September 2018)
  24. ^ US Election Atlas
  25. ^ Firemen's Memorial Festival
  26. ^ "Kirtland". kirtland.edu. May 13, 2014. http://warbler.kirtland.edu/. 
  27. ^ Michigan Shore to Shore Riding and Hiking Trail.
  28. ^ Tip-up-town. Script error: No such module "webarchive".

External links[]

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Coordinates: 44°20′N 84°37′W / 44.33, -84.61

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Roscommon County, Michigan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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