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Situated along the southern portion of Lake Charlevoix, which extends most of the way through the city, East Jordan, Michigan is at the mouth of the Jordan River.

Surrounded by South Arm Township, the city is in southwest Charlevoix County, in the northwest Lower Peninsula. The main routes to and from the city are M-32 and M-66. The western terminus of M-32 is in East Jordan, connecting East Jordan with US-131 and I-75 to the east. M-66 connects with US-31 and US-131. Other routes include Advance Road, Behling Road, Cherryville Road, Dennis Road, Ellsworth Road, Fair Road, Mount Bliss Road, Nelson Road, Peninsula Road, Rogers Road, and Townsend Road.

Nearby cities and villages include Ellsworth, Boyne City, Boyne Falls, Central Lake, and Charlevoix.

The 17,200-acre Lake Charlevoix is the third-largest lake in Michigan and was previously known as Long Lake and Pine Lake. The City of Charlevoix is on the northern end of the lake, and Boyne City is on the lake's west end. Patricia Lake is a 65-acre body of water southeast of East Jordan, between the southeast corner of the contiguous city and a non-contiguous part of the city just south of Rogers Road. Parks within the city include City Tourist Park, East Jordan Community Park, and Sportsmens Club Park.

Before its settlement by European-Americans in the 1870s, the area was inhabited seasonally by Ottawa tribes. The area was heavily forested, and this, along with the lake and river, attracted the logging industry. Joseph C. Glenn established a lumber mill around 1870. Shortly afterward, W.P. Porter bought an interest in the mill, selling his interests to Ames & Frost of Chicago in 1888, after which the operations were reorganized as the East Jordan Lumber Company.

William F. Empey came from Canada in 1873, becoming the first permanent settler when he built a home on the east side of the Jordan River. The following year, he opened the community's firsts store and became the first postmaster when a post office was established in his store on May 31, 1878. Around the same time, John Vote built a block building for a blacksmith shop, although he didn't remain long.

Even before East Jordan was settled, Solomon G. Isamen built a log house on eighty acres of land at the tip of the south arm of the lake in 1867. In 1873, he opened a store there and became the first postmaster of what was known as South Arm on November 23, 1874. The South Arm post office operated until June 30, 1905. South Arm was absorbed by East Jordan in 1887, when East Jordan was incorporated as a village. In 1911, it became a city.

In the 1880s, William Malpass came to East Jordan from England to establish the East Jordan Iron Works foundry. Now known as EJ USA, the factory manufactures products for the agricultural, construction, maritime, and railroad industries. Long an important factor in the city's economy, EJ USA moved its foundry to nearby Elmira Township in 2018, and also has locations in Oklahoma, Ireland, and France.

The Detroit and Charlevoix Railroad came through the east side of the city in 1899, and the East Jordan and Southern Railroad began operations on the west end of town in 1901, helping to establish the city as a major manufacturing center. The Detroit and Charlevoix line abandoned its track in 1932, and the East Jordan and Southern line operated until 1961, when East Jordan Iron Works ceased shipping by rail.

Although East Jordan still supports a manufacturing industry, the importance of recreation and tourism has increased in significance in recent years. Besides Lake Charlevoix, the Jordan River has become a popular place during the summer months.

The focus of this guide is on the City of East Jordan, Michigan. Topics relating to the city, or any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, or events in East Jordan are appropriate resources.

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