Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Houghton Lake

Situated in Denton, Lake, and Roscommon townships, Houghton Lake is an unincorporated community in Roscommon County, in the central-north part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.

As a census-designated place (CDP), Houghton Lake has defined boundaries, at least for the purpose of the census. It is located on the southern shores of Houghton Lake, east of US-127, which serves a small portion of the CDP's western boundary. M-55 intersects US-127 and passes through the community, mostly following the contours of the lake, where it is also known as West Houghton Lake Drive. The only incorporated place within twenty miles of Houghton Lake is the village of Roscommon. The unincorporated community of Houghton Lake Heights, about one-mile southwest, and Prudenville, about five miles to the east.

The Houghton Lake CDP includes Houghton Lake Heights, so we will include that community here, as well.

Both Houghton Lake and Houghton Lake Heights were named for the body of water by that name, which is the largest inland lake in Michigan, and one of the largest natural inland lakes in the country. First known as Muskegon Lake, later as Red Lake, and sometimes Roscommon Lake, the body of water is about ten miles north to south, and about five and a half miles at its widest point. It is a popular year-round resort destination and fishing lake. The lake was named for Douglass Houghton, Michigan's first geologist, who explored the area.

Houghton Lake Heights is on the western shores of Houghton Lake, within Roscommon Township. As an unincorporated community, Houghton Lake Heights has no defined boundaries of its own, but it does have its own post office.

Founded by the S.C. Hall Lumber Company in 1883, the community was originally known as The Heights, due to its elevation. In September of 1913, Morris J. Brown, William Cooper, Charles F. Meyers, and Fred Russel purchased the 180-acre William Houghton farm. They formed the Houghton Heights Corporation, subdividing the parcel closest to the lake, and platted the townsite. On November 24, 1923, a post office was established as The Heights, with William H. Parks as postmaster. The post office was renamed Houghton Lake Heights in 1956.

The first European-American settlers in the area that was to become Houghton Lake were the Augustus Emery family, who came with seven children, including three adult sons (Augustus, Jr., William, and Harvey) in 1873 to homestead 160-acres south of the lake.

Like Houghton Lake Heights, Houghton Lake was part of the S.C. Hall Lumber Company operations. A post office was established on November 8, 1875, with Henry H. Woodruff as its first postmaster.

When the lumbering industry declined in the early 1900s, the railroads that transported lumber transitioned into passenger lines bringing outdoorsmen to hunt and fish in the area, and others to vacation along the lake. By the mid-1900s, Houghton Lake was a resort area. Today, seasonal cottages, year-round homes, and businesses border the lake, still attracting thousands of visitors every year.

Although it does not seem to have an identity today, a community was founded on the northern shores of Houghton Lake in 1845 by Jack H. Howe, who became the postmaster of Houghton Point on November 1, 1949.

The focus of this category is on the unincorporated communities of Houghton Lake and Houghton Lake Heights, Michigan. Online resources pertaining to either of these two communities, or to any businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, or recreational opportunities within the area are appropriate for this guide.


Faith & Spirituality

Places to Stay



Recommended Resources

Search for Houghton Lake on Google or Bing