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Situated in southeastern Lapeer County, about fifty-five miles north of Detroit, Imlay City, Michigan offers a full range of services to its residents, many of whom are employed in the Detroit Metro region.

However, given its proximity to I-69 and I-75, via I-69, as well as M-53, Imlay City is positioned for long-term development and commerce. I-69 passes through the southernmost portion of Imlay City in an east-west direction, while M-53 (Van Dyke Road, Cedar Street) is a north-south route that runs through the eastern portion of the city. Other routes to and from the city include Attica Road, Blacks Corners Road, Capac Road, Fairgrounds Road, Imlay City Road, Neward Road, and Reek Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Imlay City include Almont, Capac, Dryden, Lapeer, Leonard, Romeo, Emmett, Brown City, Metamora, North Branch, and Yale.

The North Branch of the Belle River flows eastward around the north portion of Imlay City, is fed by the Hunt, Pennell, and Clark Corner drains northeast of the city, then turns southward, where it forms a small portion of the city's eastern border.

The city has a land area of about 1,585 acres, and about 70% of this has been developed. Approximately 80% of the developed area is made up of single-family homes. Most of its older homes are north of downtown, while newer homes are largely found further south and west, nearer to the interstate. About 12% percent of the residential area consists of multiple-family homes, several of them being assisted living facilities or other residential units for seniors. Roughly 20% of the developed land is categorized as public and institutional, which includes those owned by the city, utility companies, schools, churches, and other non-profits. The city owns several parks, including Lion's Park, Old School Park, Rotary Park, and Veteran's Park. The city's downtown district is made up of approximately seven acres along Third Street, between North Cedar Street and Almont Avenue. Commercial land outside of the downtown district makes up just over 11% of developed land, and most of it is along the M-53 corridor, although there are also commercial buildings along the interstate. Office land takes up about eleven acres along the M-53 corridor. Imlay City's industrial development is found largely in four locations: an industrial park east of Cedar Street, along West Second Street south of downtown, along Blacks Corner Road, and south of Newark Road on both sides of M-53. Industry takes up about 14% of the land area in the city. The only significant agricultural areas within the city limits are in the southwestern and northeastern corners of the city, but they take up about 10% of the city's total land area.

Although Imlay City has lost population during the last two census years, the losses were minor, and its history has been largely one of gains. Its peak population was 3,869 in 2000, and its current population is still above 3,500.

Imlay Township was named for William H. Imlay, a Connecticut land speculator, who began buying forest land in the area in 1836, and the city later took the name of the township.

Imlay City was established as a railroad town after Charles Palmer, the chief engineer of the Port Huron & Lake Michigan Railway, selected the location as a produce market between Lapeer and Capac. Palmer purchased a 240-acre tract of land, which he had surveyed and platted. The village was settled when the railroad completed its track as far as Attica, west of Imlay City, in 1870.

Within a year and a half, the new town had a population of about five hundred people and hosted four general stores, two hardware stores, a furniture store, a drugstore, two carriage and blacksmith shops, a saw and planing mill, a livery stable, an elevator, two hotels, a school, and about two hundred homes.

On December 12, 1870, a post office was established, with Edward E. Palmer as postmaster. Imlay City was incorporated as a village in 1873, and became a city in April of 1970.

Managed by the Lapeer County Agricultural Society, the Eastern Michigan State Fair has been held in Imlay City since 1883, featuring a rodeo, demolition derby, car show, farm animal competitions, rides, and other events.

The focus of this guide is on Imlay City, Michigan, so appropriate resources will include websites representing the city, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events.


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