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Situated at the mouth of the Ontonagon River, on the south shore of Lake Superior, the village of Ontonagon, Michigan is the only village in Ontonagon County, and its county seat.

Ontonagon County is in the northwestern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The third-largest county in the state by area, Ontonagon County is also the state's third-least populous county.

There are no incorporated cities or villages within forty-five miles of the village of Ontonagon, but there are five incorporated municipalities within fifty miles: Baraga, South Range, L'Anse, Wakefield, and Houghton. Unincorporated communities within twenty miles of Ontonagon include Rockland, Greenland, Mass City, Carp Lake, and White Pine.

The village's population has declined each census year since 1970, when its peak population was 2,432. Its current population is 1,250.

The village's downtown district is along River Street, east of the Ontonagon River. It includes the bulk of Ontonagon's retail, commercial, and service businesses. The largest concentration of residences in the village is situated just to the east and south of the downtown district, although there are residential areas near the Ontonagon Memorial Hospital and the Ontonagon Area School campuses.

Along M-38, south of the village core, are mixed residential and commercial properties, including the county courthouse and an industrial park. West of the river is largely industrial, including the former site of Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, once the village's largest employer. On the east side of the river is the former Lakeshore Oldenburg property. Built as a shipyard, this is an inactive industrial complex.

Ontonagon Township Park and Campground border the village on the northeast, along Lake Superior. The Ontonagon Village Marina and Waterfront Park is west of the river, near M-64.

Known as Rose Island, between the Ontonagon River and the downtown district, is a largely vacant land area that is not actually an island. It includes a few residences, commercial buildings, and some historical fishing sheds, as well as a park area and nature walk.

Like many Upper Peninsula towns, Ontonagon began as a copper mining town. It is situated on what had been a mining claim preempted by James Kirk Paul, a prospector, who built a cabin there in 1843, and began to plat a townsite, recording it in 1854. However, his plat was not accepted.

James Paul is credited for the removal of the famous Copper Boulder, which was discovered in the Ontonagon River. Weighing more than 3,700 pounds, the Copper Boulder is now on display in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Using the payment that he received for his work on removing the Boulder, he opened a saloon in Ontonagon.

A post office was established in Ontonagon on September 28, 1846, with Daniel S. Cash as postmaster.

Copper mining was the chief industry in Ontonagon and the surrounding region until the mid-19th century when mining operations declined. The last copper mine in the county closed in 1995.

Ontonagon was incorporated as a village in 1885.

After mining operations began their decline, the area's pine forests attracted large-scale logging operations. Opened in the late 1880s, the Diamond Match Company was the first large logging operation in the area, but the largest wood user in the area, the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation, closed its operations in Ontonagon in 2010.

Today, tourism is an important sector of the village's economy. Lake Superior, area rivers and forests, and the nearby Porcupine Mountains attract outdoor recreation enthusiasts and other visitors to the area, and snowmobiling and skiing have become particularly popular.

The focus of this category is on the village of Ontonagon, Michigan. Appropriate topics include online resources for the village, township, and county governments, any other governmental bodies within the village, and local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, sports facilities and programs, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


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