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Situated in the center of Gratiot County, for which it serves as the county seat, the City of Ithaca, Michigan is near the center of the Lower Peninsula.

Although administered autonomously, the city spans the boundaries of Arcada, Emerson, North Star, and Newark townships.

US-127 passes through the eastern portion of the city, but misses the downtown district by several blocks. Washington Road (Center Street) and State Road (Pine River Street) intersect downtown. Business US-127 runs contiguous with State Road in the north, then turns east downtown, following the route of Washington Road, reconnecting with US-127.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Ithaca include St. Louis, Alma, Perrinton, Ashley, Breckenridge, Maple Rapids, Shepherd, and Carson City, while the unincorporated communities of Newark, North Star, and Beebe are within six miles.

There are five parks in Ithaca. Woodland Park is a triangular-shaped park just west of downtown. Situated on 22.5 acres, it includes a large playground for children, a sledding hill, and an ice-skating rink. Adjoining Woodland Park, to the north, is the Ithaca Dog Park, which was added in 2012. McNabb Park is a 164.4-acre park in the southwest part of the city. Long the home of the annual county fair, it is the location of the Gratiot Agricultural Expo and includes several barn structures, arenas, and a horse track, as well as camping facilities. McNabb Park also has a soccer facility with five fields and a network of trails for running and bicycling. Atkinson Park is a neighborhood park on the east side of the city, near the Ithaca Senior Activity Center. Situated on 3.9 acres, it includes a pavilion, horseshoe pits, and picnic facilities. Lastly, Memory Park is a small area in the center of the Historic Downtown District that includes picnic tables, benches, a speaker system, and a small grassy area.

Ithaca Public Schools is a unified school system that serves Ithaca, the communities of North Star and Sumner, and the surrounding townships, offering a PK-12th-grade curriculum through North Elementary School, South Elementary School, and Ithaca Junior/Senior High School.

The Michigan Register of Historic Places lists five sites in Ithaca. The first is the Gratiot Center Historical Village Barn on South Pine River Street, placed on the State Register in 1979. The second is the Gratiot County Courthouse, still used by the county government, which was placed on the National Register in 1976 and the State Register in 1957. The Jackson-Weller House is the third. Currently housing the Gratiot County Historical Museum, it was placed on the State Register in 1990. The fourth is the John Jeffery House, which was placed on the State Register in 1983. It is currently used as the Barden Funeral Home. The fifth site is the Kosciusko Peet House. Placed on the State Register in 1983, it currently serves as the Gratiot County Genealogical Library. The Ithaca Downtown Historic District was added to the National Register in 2005.

Coming from Howell in 1850, James J. Bush is believed to have been the first permanent European-American settler. In 1853, John Jeffery, a New Yorker, acquired land in Ithaca, although his family didn't settle it until 1855. A post office was established under the name of Gratiot Center on November 16, 1855, with John Knight as postmaster. John Jeffery and Sidney S. Hastings, another early settler, platted the townsite in 1856, laying out the streets, blocks, lots, and alleys. In March of 1856, the new community was chosen as the county seat. On April 13, 1857, the post office was renamed for Ithaca, New York. Ithaca was incorporated as a village in 1869, and became a city in 1961.

Throughout its history, Ithaca's history has mostly been one of growth. Although never a large city, since it first appeared on the census rolls in 1880, it has declined in population only in 1910, 1930, and 2010, although it is projected to decline slightly in 2020 when those reports are released. Its peak population was 3,098, and its current population is just under 3,000.

As the focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Ithaca, Michigan, appropriate resources will include websites representing the city, and any businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and sports or recreational opportunities within the city.


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