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Situated on Tawas Bay, a part of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, Tawas City, Michigan is the county seat of Iosco County.

Bounded by the City of East Tawas to the northeast, Tawas City is otherwise bordered by Tawas Township.

The chief route to and from the city is US-23 (Lake Street), which passes through the center of town, connecting it with East Tawas to the northeast. M-55 forms a portion of the city's northern boundary, then turns southeast to connect with US-23, where it ends. Other routes include Plank Road (Harris Avenue), Meadow Road (4th Street), Bay Drive, and Townline Road, which forms the city's southern border.

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Tawas City include East Tawas, Whittemore, Turner, Au Gres, and Prescott, while the unincorporated community of Alabaster Junction, a couple of miles west of Tawas City's southern border.

Prior to the area's occupation by European-American settlers, a band of Ojibwa from the Saginaw Tribe of Chippewa had a camp along the shores of the bay that was known as O'ta-was's Bay, for their Chief O-ta-was. In time, the ending "s" was dropped, and the name eventually evolved to Tawas, from which Tawas City gets its name.

However, Gideon O. Whittemore, a former Oakland County judge, is acknowledged as the founder of Tawas City after his company, G.O. Whittemore & Company, built a sawmill on the site in 1854. He arranged to plat the village site in 1855, although it was not recorded until 1866.

Tawas City was the first city located on the shores of Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron north of Bay City. While Tawas City was still under development, it was designated as the county seat. A post office was established on January 26, 1856, with James O. Whittemore as postmaster.

Tawas City was incorporated as a village in 1885, and became a city in 1895.

Like many Michigan communities, the timber industry was a major driver in the city's early economy, but Tawas Bay has also served as a harbor of refuge for large freighters seeking to escape storms on Lake Huron.

Since first appearing on a US census roll in 1880, Tawas City has experienced periods of increase and decline but, since 1960, it has maintained a population that ranged from just above 2,000 to just below 2,000.

Residential properties make up approximately fifty percent of the developed land in the city, and about twenty-five percent of all land in Tawas City. Most of this is single-family residential, with multiple-family properties representing just over four percent of the total developed land.

The Medilodge and Lakeview Manor senior-living facilities account for much of the city's multiple-family residential properties. Other multiple-family residential developments are condominiums along the lakeshore.

Commercial properties represent about fifteen percent of all developed land in Tawas City, most of it being along the US-23 corridor. Office use occupies between three and four percent of the city's developed land, most of them situated near St. Joseph Health System's medical campus and in the downtown area along US-23.

Industrial uses account for less than seven percent of the developed land in the city. The majority of its industrial properties are near 9th Avenue, within three general areas on Industrial Avenue, 6th Street, and Cedar Street.

The city operates eleven parks, including Gateway Park, Shoreline Park, Town Square Park, Union Square Park, Independent Park, Sawyer Thornton Park, Elms Neighborhood Park, Anchor Park, Veteran's Park, the Tawas Nature Preserve, and the Tawas City Sports Complex.

The city also owns and operates the Tawas City Library, which partners with the Friends of the Tawas City Library to host various events and fundraising activities.

Tawas City is situated along the planned route of the Iron Belle Trail, a trail system intended to connect Belle Isle in Detroit to Ironwood in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The pathway along US-23 in Tawas City is a designated section of the Iron Belle Trail that connects to the bicycle pathway in Alabaster Township.

Police protection is provided by the Tawas Police Authority, which also serves the City of East Tawas. The Iosco County Sheriff's Department is located in Tawas City, as the county seat.

The Tawas Area School District serves the cities of Tawas City and East Tawas, as well as the townships of Alabaster, Au Sable, Baldwin, Grant, Tawas, Sherman, Wilber, and Whitney. Affiliated with the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Emanuel Lutheran School is a parochial elementary school in Tawas City. It enrolls students in grades K-8.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is Tawas City. Online resources for governmental agencies, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events within the city are appropriate, for this category.


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