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The City of Otsego, Michigan is surrounded by Otsego Township, in the southeastern portion of Allegan County.

Michigan has an Otsego County, but it is more than two hundred miles to the north. The city of Otsego is in Southwest Michigan, near Kalamazoo. The Kalamazoo River flows through the northern part of the city.

US-131 runs north-south just east of the city, while M-89 (Allegan Street) runs through the city, intersecting with US-131. Cities and villages within twenty miles of Otsego include Plainwell, Martin, Allegan, Parchment, Hopkins, Richland, Gobles, Kalamazoo, Bloomingdale, and Wayland.

Otsego's peak population was 4,142 in 1960, and its current population is just under four thousand.

The city's riverfront has been home to most of the city's industries, while the nearby downtown district is the focal point of the Otsego. Residential districts radiate outward from the commercial district. This is a pattern of development that stemmed from the early days of the city, when residences were built close to the downtown area, railroad lines, and local sources of employment, with the river providing electricity, shipping, and operating water.

Much of Otsego's residential area is south of the river, and mostly single-family residential, while its high and medium density residential projects are on the outskirts of the city, particularly the southeast.

Otsego's commercial property is centered on the M-89 corridor, and is primarily retail and service-oriented. Although the central business district of the city is not a destination point, it offers services and products to local residents and travelers.

Industrial lands within the city are concentrated along the northern shores of the river, although there are a couple of industrial sites in the southeastern portion of the city.

The city's K-12 population is served by Otsego Public Schools, which operates seven campuses, one (Alamo Elementary School) in Alamo Township, the others in Otsego: Dix Street Elementary School, Washington Street Elementary School, Otsego Middle School, Otsego High School, West Campus High School, and Learn 'N Grow Early Education Center. There are also three parochial schools within the city: St. Margaret's Catholic School, Peace Evangelical Lutheran School, and the First Baptist Church Academy.

There are four public parks in Otsego, some with ballfields and playground equipment, while others are more passive or nature-based.

The first European-American settlers on the land that became Otsego were probably the Samuel Foster family, who came in 1831. Other early settlers included Giles Scott, Hull Sherwood, and Horace H. Comstock, who came in 1832. Originally, the settlement was known as Pine Creek.

In 1832, a post office was established as Allegan but, with the organization of Allegan County in 1835, led by Samuel Foster, an Otsego resident, the post office name was changed to Otsego on March 16, 1835, and the newly designated county seat for Allegan County was assigned the name Allegan, with Samuel Foster as postmaster, while Horace H. Comstock was appointed postmaster for Otsego, named for Lake Otsego and Otsego County in New York.

In 1836, Mr. Comstock built a dam, a mill-race, and a sawmill. He employed O.J. Wilder to plat the townsite that same year, and Otsego was incorporated as a village in 1865, and as a city in 1918.

Otsego's first school opened in 1833, and a hotel (Tompkins House) was built in the 1860s. In 1866, a volunteer fire department was organized, using horse-drawn water wagons. The Otsego Fire Department is still in operation, serving the city and township of Otsego.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Otsego, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites for the municipal government and any other governmental body within the city, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, and recreational opportunities.


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