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Sometimes spelled as one word, as in AuSable, Au Sable, Michigan is on the south side of the Au Sable River, at the point where it enters Lake Huron.

Unincorporated communities in Michigan don't have defined boundaries, but Au Sable is also a census-designated place (CDP), which affords it with boundaries for statistical purposes, albeit without legal status as a municipality.

Au Sable is south and southwest of the Oscoda CDP, in Au Sable Township, Iosco County, in the North Michigan portion of the Lower Peninsula. Bordered to the north by the Au Sable River and Oscoda, US-23 forms its eastern border, while it extends west into the Huron National Forest.

West of the Au Sable River, its northern borders are made up of West Mill Street and East River Road, its western boundary is Grass Lake Road, and a portion of its southern border is AuSable Road, while the CDP extends to Johnson Road in its eastern portion, while a small sliver of the CDP continues south between the railroad and Forest Road, as far as the KOA Campground, just southeast of Grass Lake.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Au Sable include East Tawas, Tawas City, Whittemore, and Harrisville, while, besides Oscoda, unincorporated communities within fifteen miles are Alvin, Greenbush, and Mikado.

Settled in 1848, after the land was acquired by Curtis Emerson and James Eldridge, the townsite was platted about ten years before Au Sable Township was organized. George Duell and Horace Stockman built log fishing huts along the south side of the Au Sable River, near where it joins Lake Huron. Elijah Grandy, a fisherman, was appointed the first postmaster of Au Sable on September 23, 1856.

In 1867, the townsite was re-platted, this time by Francis B. Smith, and Au Sable was incorporated as a village in 1872, and as a city in 1889. By 1870, Au Sable was home to three large lumber mills, beginning a lumber boom that lasted for three decades. By 1877, Au Sable had a population of more than 1,500, and the village included six mills, a blind factory, several stores and hotels, and a bank, as well as churches and schools.

The Au Sable & Northwestern Railway connected more than a dozen lumber camps operated by Loud and Company to mills and docks in Au Sable. By the time Au Sable became a city, its main street was a mile long, with a saloon on nearly every block.

The first signs of decline in the local timber industry began in 1893 when Loud and Company closed one of its largest mills, although timber operations continued for another seventeen years. By 1900, Au Sable had a population of more than 5,000.

Disaster struck on July 11, 1911, when a forest fire nearly half of Oscoda and most of Au Sable. Within a month, most of its citizens were gone, leaving fewer than fifty people by 1929. The Au Sable post office closed on December 15, 1912, and Au Sable surrendered its city charter in 1931, and what was left of the community was a ghost town for the next four decades.

In the 1970s, tourism began to bring people to Au Sable, and people who worked in Oscoda or at the nearby Wursmith Air Force Base also began moving to Au Sable. Although the Base is now closed, some Au Sable residents are employed at the commercial airfield that replaced it.

The old village area has about 350 year-round homes on twenty-six streets, as well as a large seasonal population, while the larger CDP has a population of about 1,400. Most Au Sable businesses are along US-23, and new homes are being built each year.

As not much survived the 1911 fire, and it was followed by a long period of stagnant population growth, most of the buildings in Au Sable are less than thirty years old. The new Au Sable is nothing like the old Au Sable, although it may occupy the same geographic area.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the community known as Au Sable, Michigan, which may also be known as AuSable. Online resources for businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities within the CDP are appropriate for this category.



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