Historical Info – Where the Heck is Clam Lake?
In 1871, after the Great Michigan Fires that swept across the state from Saginaw to Port Huron westward to Manistee and Holland that destroyed or seriously damaged timber harvest areas and lumber mills; lumber seeker George Mitchell arrived on the Little Clam Lake (later Lake Cadillac) eastern shore. He faced a couple challenges in order to successfully harvest timber in the area.
Mr. Mitchell convinced the G.R. & I. Railroad to redirect the railroad that was to head toward Charlevoix and Petosky eastward to a point 3-4 miles south of Little Clam Lake. He felt the most direct route for his lumber was between the two lakes.
Mr. Mitchell tried dredging the Black Creek that flowed easterly, connecting the two lakes to float logs from Big Clam Lake (later Lake Mitchell) to his lumber mills in his village. The Black Creek route failed. Mr. Mitchell felt that the natural flow of water to the Clam River outlet at the northeast corner of the smaller lake would be ideal for floating cut timber to his mills; so he constructed a canal a few hundred feet south of the creek. The area was then built up into a booming lumber community.
Clam Lake became a tourist destination with boat companies and the railroad carrying tourists to that “social” town on the lakes. There were picnics, berry picking and hiking. The train rides became quite an experience with food, music and dancing during the excursion.
In 1872, Mr. Mitchell organized Clam Lake Village (later Cadillac). In 1877, Cadillac became a city and George Mitchell was its first mayor. Unfortunately, Mr. Mitchell died in 1878 from an accidental fall.
The county seat, however, was in the village of Sherman, although Manton briefly held the county seat designation. There was a political dispute in 1882 to change the county seat to Cadillac, which still stands today.
Click on Cadillac Michigan Official Travel Guide – it contains maps for Cadillac, the lakes, lodging, and multi-trail maps. Information on: golf courses, parks and camping, lake ramp and rental information, winter sports, attraction and events, dining and markets, shopping, day trip and scenic routes, weddings, meetings and reunions, major venues.
Network of Trails, the Cadillac Area offers outdoor adventure no matter the time of year. Trail hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and ORV/ATV’s.
Trail hiking: Mitchell State Park Heritage Trail, Keith McKellop Walkway, Lake Cadillac Foot/Bike Path, Clam River Greenway, White Pine Trail, The Big M
Biking: Lake Cadillac Foot/Bike Path, Clam River Greenway, White Pine Trail, The Big M (Outer Loop groomed for winter fat tires)
Cross country skiing & snow shoeing: Mitchell State Heritage Park, Clam River Greenway, Evergreen Trail (groomed trails for x-county skiing)
Snowmobiling: White Pine Trail
ORV/ATV’s: Long Lake Missaukee Trail and Missaukee Junction Trail between Cadillac and Manton.
Land Area: 30.9 square miles
Water Area: 0.3 square miles
2010 Census Population: 2,265 2015 Population Estimate: 2,290
Population Density (2013): 73 people per square mile
- Males 1,246
- Females 1,221
Age Groups (2010):
- 0-17 590
- 18-64 1,466
- 65+ 411
Age Distribution (2010):
- 0-9 years 274
- 10-19 years 361
- 20-29 years 187
- 30-39 years 233
- 40-49 years 380
- 50-59 years 442
- 60-69 years 305
- 70-79 years 164
- 80+ years 121
- White 2,400
- Black/African 14
- Indigenous 8
- Asian 15
- Other 4
- 2 or more 26
- Hispanic or Latino 15
- Other 2,452
Most Common First Ancestries Reported (2013):
- Norwegian 71.4%
- German 28.6%
Occupied Housing (2013):
- Owner occupied 2,012
- Renter occupied 210
Average Household Size (2013): 2.7 people
Household Type by Relationship (2013):
- Married couples with children 514
- Single-parent households 64 (29 men, 35 women)
Average Median Household Income (2013): $41,661
Estimated Median House or Condo Value (2013): $96,645 Lower quartile $58,800 Upper quartile $160,896
Median Contract Rent (2013): $530 Lower quartile: $256 Upper quartile: $449