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Situated in the southeast corner of Washington Township, bordering Sanilac Township, Applegate is an incorporated village in Sanilac County, on the Thumb of Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

The village grew up around a sawmill that was built in 1856 by George Pack, the brother of John Pack, an early leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When a post office was established there on June 24, 1880, it was named for Jesse Applegate, the leader of a party that opened the Applegate Trail, the southern road to Oregon, in 1845. The growing village took the name of the post office. Orrin A. Munn was the first postmaster. The Pere Marquette Railroad built a station there, and Applegate was incorporated as a village in 1903, and its post office is still in operation.

Applegate Road and Sherman Road intersect in the center of the village. The Black River cuts through the southwestern corner of the village. The village of Carsonville is 5.9 miles north of Applegate, the city of Croswell is 6.8 miles south, and the city of Port Huron is 33.2 miles south-southeast.

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