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Situated in the North Michigan region of the Lower Peninsula, the City of Gaylord is the county seat of Otsego County, and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.

Gaylord is on the 45th Parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole.

Concentrated at the junction of I-75 and M-32 (Main Street), the city consists of four non-contiguous parts, three of them relatively small industrial areas. Other significant routes through the city include McCoy Road, Wilkinson Road, and Old US-27.

Nearby localities include the villages of Vanderbilt and Wolverine, and the unincorporated communities of Oak Grove, Eyedylwild Beach, Arbutus Beach, Sparr, and Otsego Lake. Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge are about sixty miles to the north.

Gaylord was not the first village in the county, nor was it originally the county seat. In 1872, families were invited to settle about ten miles south of Gaylord, while the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad was under construction. forming a village known as Otsego Lake, for the nearby body of water. A post office was established at Otsego Lake on July 23, 1873, and it was named the county seat in 1875.

The first settlement in Gaylord was known as Barnes, and early settlers included Dr. N.L. Parmater, C.C. Mitchell, and William H. Smith. When the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad came through in 1874, the village was renamed for A.S. Gaylord, a railroad attorney. On June 23, 1874, a post office was established in Gaylord, with Smith as the first postmaster, and Gaylord was named the county seat in 1878, incorporated as a village in 1881, and a city in 1922.

Since it first appeared on a census in 1880, Gaylord has experienced slight population declines in 1910, 1930, and 2010, but its increases were much larger. Its peak population was 3,681 in 2000, but it is estimated to surpass that number in 2020.

Since the 1960s, the city has been marketing itself as an Alpine Village, and this has become its most distinguishing feature. Although the concept was first proposed by the owners of the Otsego Ski Club in the 1930s, the Chamber of Commerce, community leaders, and the city began promoting it heavily in the late 1960s. Capitalizing on its location in the center of the snow belt, Gaylord's downtown district and area businesses have embraced the Alpine theme architecturally, and many of its annual events reflect this theme, as well as its sister city of Pontresina, Switzerland.

Due to its distance from Lake Michigan and its elevation, the snowfall in the Gaylord region, is heavy, a phenomenon known as Lake Effect Snow. As a result, the area surrounding the city is known for winter recreational opportunities.

The focus of this guide is on the City of Gaylord, Michigan. Online resources representing the municipality, as well as individuals, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational and sports programs, teams, and facilities are appropriate for this category.


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