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The Village of Vanderbilt, Michigan is in Corwith Township, northern Otsego County, in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

I-75 runs through the western portion of the village, with an exit onto Old Highway 27, which runs through the center of town. Other routes to or from the village include McGregor Road, Nowak Road, Sturgeon Valley Road, and Yuill Road. Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Vanderbilt include Gaylord, Wolverine, Boyne Falls, and Boyne City, while the unincorporated communities of Thumb Lake and Green Timbers are within ten miles of the village.

Vanderbilt's peak population was 605 in 1990. Since then, it has declined each census year, to 498 in 2020.

Vanderbilt came about when the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad changed its original plant to build its track through Berryville, and decided to take another route, through land owned by the Vanderbilt family.

Around 1875, John G. Berry purchased land along the originally planned route of the railroad, about three or four miles from Vanderbilt. In 1877, he founded a town there, and became the first postmaster of Berryville on January 16, 1878. The Berryville post office operated until 1907.

When Mr. Berry learned that the railroad had changed its planned route, he moved his businesses to the current site of Vanderbilt.

Cornelius Vanderbilt, a member of a wealthy New York family, purchased the Michigan Central Railroad, which was originally the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad, and the new town was named for the Vanderbilt family. The Vanderbilt post office was established on June 24, 1880, with Dr. Henry C. Peckham as postmaster. The railroad came through to Vanderbilt in 1871, establishing a depot there, and Vanderbilt was incorporated as a village in 1901.

With the benefit of the railroad, the village grew quickly. By the turn of the 19th century, Vanderbilt had several residences, some stores, a two-story school building, two churches, a few boarding houses, a Masonic Lodge, a sawmill, and a planing mill.

Vanderbilt had a forest product industry, shipping lumber harvested in the surrounding area to market, as well as supporting businesses that turned the lumber into other products, such as bowls, posts, barrel staves, wagons, furniture, and brooms.

Shortly after its incorporation as a village in 1901, the village had a telephone company, electricity to operate a shingle mill, and then enough electricity to power other businesses, residences, and street lights. In 1913, the Vanderbilt school expanded to serve grades 1-12, and a new schoolhouse was built in the 1950s, with additions added in subsequent years.

The coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan was in Vanderbilt on February 9, 1934, when temperatures fell to -51 F.

Today, Vanderbilt is a small town, but it supports small but vibrant commercial enterprises, as well as light manufacturing. The township hall is located in Vanderbilt, and the village still has an operating post office, a school, a few churches, and recreational facilities.

The North Central State Trail, a 62-mile recreational rail trail that largely parallels I-75, runs northward from Gaylord to the top of the Lower Peninsula at Mackinaw City, connecting to the North Western State Trail. It serves the towns of Gaylord, Vanderbilt, Indian River, Cheboygan, and Mackinaw City, following what was formerly the northernmost section of the Michigan Central Railroad.

The Vanderbilt branch of the Otsego County Library is housed at the Corwith Township Hall in downtown Vanderbilt, and the Vanderbilt Area School District serves K-12 students in the village. Its campus is located just inside the eastern boundaries of the village.

Residential land use occupies just under thirty percent of the total land area in the village. Most of its residential development is on small lots in the village's platted areas, although some single-family homes are on larger lots within the village.

Commercial development comprises between three and four percent of the village area, largely concentrated along Old Highway 27. Industrial areas cover about eight percent of the village, mostly in the north-central part of town.

Nearly twenty percent of the land area in the village is forested, mostly on land that was not considered suitable for farming when the village was first settled.

Club Stream flows through the southern part of Vanderbilt.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is the village of Vanderbilt, Michigan. Online resources representing governmental entities, such as the municipality and township, as well as businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities within the village are appropriate for this category.



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