Towns and Villages

Each community in Alcona County is unique.  One town is in the heart of the forest, another is riverside and another is on the Great Lakes.

Some communities are known for their festivals, some feature great golf, boating or fishing.  Nearby are pristine forests, historic museums, lighthouses, great places to eat and friendly innkeepers.  Top quality schools, friendly markets and world class festivals are all within an hours drive for residents and visitors.

You can find Chamber Members and professionals for every kind of services and goods you could possibly want or need.

Barton City is found tucked away in the very center of Alcona County. Its uniqueness derives from the way two townships come together to support this warm and friendly community.

Barton City’s claim to fame is the “The Biggest 4th In The North.” On Independence Day it has been known to have 10,000 people flood the streets to watch the famous parade in the morning and stay for the fabulous fireworks display at dusk. Barton City’s population consists of a lot of people who have been born and raised here, and a lot of people from down state, who have been attracted to this area for all it has to offer.

Generally, the migration begins with a ride to the “north” country, and purchasing hunting property. When the weekend trips to Barton City just aren’t enough to spend at “camp” and retirement is imminent, the relocation takes place. This is where everyone comes together to make Barton City what it is today. Jewell Lake is one of Barton City’s treasures, with its perfect little island nestled in the center. Good fishing, boating, and in the winter, snowmobiling.

Barton City is also proud of its groomed snowmobile trails, good turkey and deer hunting, and just plain gorgeous countryside.

A trip to this friendly little town will be a trip to remember.

Black River was first settled by French trappers and fishermen in 1849. It later became the headquarters for the lumbering firm of Alger Smith and Company which, from 1876 to 1880 was considered the largest pine timber producer in the world. The company employed 600 men for the purpose of putting out rafting timber.

Today, Black River is mostly a residential and recreational area. The Black River empties into Lake Huron at this location, and Alcona Township maintains a very beautiful park and boat launch at this site.

Black River has a U.S. Post Office and St. Gabriel Catholic Church, which was established in 1894. Negwegon State Park is located very close to Black River. This park is the least used of all Michigan’s state parks. Negwegon offers a fine network of existing footpaths and trails along the Lake Huron shoreline and in the wooded interior.

With unlimited recreational activities, scenic beauty, serenity and a friendly way of life, Black River is fast becoming a very popular place to live once again.

The “Black Bear Capital of the World”.

Curran is a small town on M-65 in western Alcona County. It lies at the center of Mitchell Township, geographically the largest township – 144 square miles – in Alcona County, but with the smallest population in the county – less than 500 people. Curran began as a lumber camp built in 1875 by Phillip Curran. The area was logged until the 1920s when the large stands of white pine were exhausted. Throughout the area the stumps of the giant pines can be seen in the woods, often still charred by the fires that swept through the area in the early 1900s.

Farms, raising cattle and hay, are scattered through the area. There are two restaurants, two churches, a gas station/convenience store and several residences spread along M-65 south of the northern intersection with M-72. It is also the home of the Black Bear Festival.

South of Curran are the Hoist Lakes Foot Travel Area and Reid Lake Foot Travel Area. Hoist Lakes is an area of 10,600 acres set aside for backcountry recreational activities such as hiking, backpacking, bird watching, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing and nature study. There are over 20 miles of trails through the area. The trails are designed with the more experienced cross-country skier in mind. The area is ideal for backpacking trips from two days to one week.

The Reid Lake Foot Travel Area is about 3,000 acres. There are about six miles of gentle, rolling trails that lead around Reid Lake, once part of a farm. The trails are ideal for spending a few hours in the forest without too much physical challenge. The trails are a good match for beginning skiers.

North and west of Curran are Crooked Lake and McCollum lakes, both of which have public access for boaters and fishermen. Much of the land immediately surrounding and north of Curran consists of farms and larger parcels of hunting land belonging to individuals and hunting clubs.

The most important local event is the Annual March of Dimes Auction that has been held in the township hall for over 50 years on the last Saturday in January.

Like many small towns in northern Michigan, Curran is a humble place but one that continues to serve as a center for families that have been here for three or four generations.

A sign on M-65 entering the town describes Glennie as “The Heart of the Huron National Forest.” The large tracts of public land teeming with wildlife – deer, black bear, coyote, turkey and partridge – make the area around Glennie one of the most popular hunting destinations in the state. The Au Sable River, a few miles to the south and west, is one of the finest steelhead and trout rivers in the Midwest. The Alcona Dam Pond, about four miles west of Glennie, consists of 1,100 acres of open water created by a hydroelectric dam on the Au Sable River. It is known for its quality walleye, pike, perch, bass and trout fishing. Located on the pond is a campground, the Alcona Park, which has boat ramps and 548 campsites in a beautiful wooded setting. Vaughn Lake, near Glennie, also has public access for fishing. Winter snowfall brings snowmobilers and cross-country skiers to the trails in the national forest surrounding Glennie.

A new 18-hole golf course and clubhouse is located south of Glennie on M-65.

The annual Forth of July celebration highlights the summer season. There is a parade and a children’s carnival during the day and fireworks at night.

Glennie, begun as a camp in the lumbering era, has transformed itself into a small town serving the needs of the many residents, visitors, retirees, and owners of recreational property in western Alcona County.  Glennie is an incorporated village located in Curtis Township at the intersection of M-65 and F-30 in western Alcona County. The population of the township is about 1,400. The town grew from a start as a lumber camp and rail station during the lumbering boom between the 1860s and the early 1900s. It was originally named Vaughn after a lumberman who owned much of the property in the area. However, in the 1800s the first postmaster named the town Glennie in honor of John W. Glennie, a prominent citizen of Au Sable who was tragically killed in 1880 while trying to rescue the crew of a schooner foundering in Lake Huron.

A historic and beautiful spot in eastern Alcona County.  Greenbush is an unincorporated community on US 23 a few miles south of Harrisville on the shores of Lake Huron.  In 1847-48, Crosier Davison, of Detroit, built a fishery and cooperage at what was then known as the Sliding Banks of the Au Sable.  In 1862, Morris & McDougal, of New York State, bought government pine timber land and set up lumber operations. The area became known as “McDougal’s Landing”.

 Later, William Conklin built a sawmill here, and in about 1867, at the suggestion of an employee from Greenbush, New York, the name was changed. A post office named “Greenbush” opened on May 16, 1870, with James Burton as postmaster. The name of the office was changed to “Perfection” on June 6, 1917, and changed back to Greenbush on January 8, 1921.

Harrisville is the kind of small town anyone wants to visit and come back to because it’s about as far from the “hurry-up-and-let-me-take-your-money-big-city-developing-into-new-rural-areas” as you can get. It’s northeast Michigan’s best kept secret. It’s the county seat for Alcona County, a county with more forest than asphalt, a population of 10,000 and only one traffic light.

What Harrisville doesn’t have is fast food restaurants, big hotel chains, or rubber-stamped trinket stores. What it does have is miles of sandy Lake Huron shoreline, breathtaking views, quiet streets, truly interesting antique and gift shops, and an unhurried atmosphere.

It has also been spared from anxious and obnoxious development. One hundred years ago Harrisville’s population was about 375. Today, Harrisville’s population is about 500. When coming to Harrisville, you’ll find friendly people who enjoy an frenzy-free lifestyle. Coming back you’ll find that again; and again; and again. Come to Harrisville, relax and get comfortable. Come back to Harrisville, you’ll be remembered.

Visit the Lincoln Downtown Development Authority

Lincoln is an historic town in central Alcona County, Michigan.  With a rich history that mirrors the development of northern Michigan, this community continues to thrive.  The depot is now an museum and tells the story of the railroads and lumber in this area.

Throughout the town you will find these wonderful stone buildings.  The Lincoln Farmers Market is open all summer.

Established by Daniel D. Bruce, who was born in King Center, Ontario, Canada in 1850, the son of Scottish emigrants. Once he found that a railroad ran west of Greenbush, he purchased land from the U.S. Government and built a hotel. The land he purchased was known as “West Greenbush.” After obtaining a train stop from railroad officials, Bruce wrote the Postmaster General in Washington D.C. suggesting the name “Bruce Crossing” for the newly founded village. Postal authorities informed him that a town of that name already existed in the Upper Peninsula. It was the assistant Postmaster General who named the town Mikado because he recently enjoyed the Gilbert and Sullivan Operetta “The Mikado.” However, the translation was lost as locals pronounce it “My Kay Doe.” But that is how the town, founded by a Scotsman in 1886, came to have a Japanese name!

Today Mikado has a rural population just over 1,000 with its own volunteer fire department with over 20 members. It is a zoned double-township and adopted its Master Plan in 2002. Mikado Township has 13 bridges. It has a township hall known as the Mikado Civic Center, complete with an Independent League ball field located behind the building. There are also two Little League/softball fields located at the Mikado Recreation Area site by Barlow Road.

A historic and beautiful spot in eastern Alcona County.  Spruce is located in Caledonia Township on the Northern border of Alcona County.

It began as a lumbering town in when Donald A. Hecox established a sawmill there in 1898 and became it’s first postmaster. Spruce is located five miles east of Hubbard Lake and today serves its tourist and resident population.

Pictured is the famous old stone church, one of several historic sites throught the county.

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