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Mancelona, Michigan is in central-west Mancelona Township in southern Antrim County, in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

The chief route through the village is US-131/M-66, known as Williams Street within the village limits, which bisects the village diagonally, northeast-southwest, intersecting M-88 in the center of Mancelona. Darragh Road (Maple Street) runs south from the center of the village. Its boundaries are Kresnak Road in the north, Palmer Park Road in the south, and Cedar River Road to the west.

Johnson Pond is in the southeastern portion of the village.

Incorporated cities and villages within twenty miles of Mancelona include Bellaire, Kalkaska, East Jordan, and Central Lake, while the unincorporated communities of Antrim, Alba, Leetsville, Darragh, and Lakes of the North are within ten miles of the village.

The Perry Andress family were among the first European-Americans settlers in the area when they took a homestead in 1869, and the first election of Mancelona Township was held in his home in April of 1871, and both the township and village were named for his young daughter.

The following year, the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad established a station stop there on their line from Grand Rapids to Mackinaw City. Leander C. Handy and A.D. Carpenter opened a store near the railroad stop in 1872, and Mr. Handy built the first frame house in the village. On March 10, 1874, a post office was established in Mancelona, with Mr. Andress as the first postmaster, and the village was incorporated in 1889.

In 1882, John Otis built a blast furnace to make pig iron using charcoal from the maple trees that were common in the area, and the Antrim Iron Company contributed greatly to the early growth of the community. People came to Mancelona from Indiana and Kentucky, as well as from Sweden, to work in the iron plants and in the surrounding woods. The iron industry was the chief driver of the village's economy until 1945 when it closed due to a decline in local hardwood resources.

With the decline of the iron industry, potato production became important, and is still a significant factor in the local economy. However, beginning in the mid-20th-century, the township began to transition to a recreation-oriented residential community, and Mancelona became a base or a commercial center for outdoor activities in the surrounding region, which includes the Lakes of the North Recreation Community east of Mancelona, and the Schuss Mountain ski resort to the west.

Mancelona hosts the White Pine Stampede Ski Race on the first Saturday of February, and a Bass Festival in June. During the winter, snowmobilers and skiers come to town. Johnson's Pond, in Mancelona, is open year-round for fishing, and the morel mushroom season brings people town in May when the mushrooming season begins.

Mancelona grew from a population of 105 in 1880 to 1,205 in 1890. Since then, it has experienced ups and downs, but the ups were more dramatic than the downs, and the village currently has a population above 1,330.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the village of Mancelona, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the village government and any other government facilities within the village, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, sports programs and facilities, and recreational opportunities.


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