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Situated on the southeastern shores of Houghton Lake, Prudenville, Michigan is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in northeast Denton Township, Roscommon County.

The Houghton Lake CDP abuts Prudenville in the northwest, while Spring Brook forms its northeastern boundary. Other waterways within the CDP include Denton Creek and Knappens Creek, each of which, along with Spring Brook, empty into Houghton Lake. Denton Creek joins Houghton Lake and Lake James, which is just east of Prudenville

The chief routes through the community include M-18, M-55, and M-400. Others include Owens Drive and Chippewa Trail, which form a portion of the CDP's western boundary, and Nestel Road, which forms most of its southern boundary.

The only cities or villages within twenty-five miles of Prudenville are Roscommon and West Branch. The unincorporated community of Houghton Lake Heights is about six miles west, within the Houghton Lake CDP, and the Artesia Beach CDP is about twelve miles northeast.

With a year-round population of about 1,600, Prudenville is a residential community, summer resort, and tourist area. It supports a few hotels, lodges, or other guest accommodations, a good-sized golfing facility, and the Houghton Lake Historical Village and Playhouse.

The Historical Village is made up of thirteen historical buildings that include a school, chapel, town hall, general store, blacksmith shop, carriage shop, barber shop, dress shop, homes, and other buildings. During Village Days, there are demonstrations of pioneer crafts, children's activities, a storyteller, and live music. Built in 1927, the Playhouse, which includes a dance floor, is now used for music acts, live plays, and other events.

European-American settlers were attracted to the area by the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted free land to people moving west. The community was named for Peter Pruden, an early developer who was instrumental in the founding of the settlement around 1875, although some accounts list John Pruden as the founder.

Like many Michigan communities, Prudenville was a lumber town. The chief lumber operations were conducted by the Roscommon Lumber Company.

A post office was established in Prudenville on September 6, 1875, with Mrs. Clara J. Denton as postmaster. On January 10, 1876, the post office's name was changed to Edna, but it was changed back to Prudenville on January 14, 1886. The post office was closed on August 15, 1911, but restored in 1921.

Today, the Prudenville post office serves most of Denton Township and portions of Backus Township, Higgins Township, Nester Township, and Roscommon Township, although a portion of the Prudenville CDP is served by the Houghton Lake post office.

In 1882, the Roscommon Lumber Company financed the building of a railroad in order to move its timber products to a 700-foot trestle above the East Bay of Houghton Lake, where logs could be pushed off the train cars into the water, where they were floated across the lake to the Muskegon River, then down the river to the lumber mills of Muskegon. This line was not connected to any other railroad.

In 1887, the Roscommon Lumber Company ended its logging operations in Michigan. In 2004, the Roscommon Lumber Company and the community of Prudenville were dually listed as a Michigan State Historic Site.

Later, the Michigan Central Railroad built a branch line that left its Mackinaw Branch at Hauptman, going west into Roscommon County, terminating at Prudenville.

Prudenville was never incorporated, and has no official boundaries, as the CDP boundaries are for purposes of the census only, and are without legal status.

The focus of this part of our guide is on the unincorporated community and census-designated place known as Prudenville, Michigan. Government agencies, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities within the CDP are appropriate topics for this category.



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