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Alcona County, Michigan facts for kids

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Alcona County
Sturgeon Point Light
Official logo of Alcona County
Map of Michigan highlighting Alcona County
Location within the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Michigan
Founded established 1840
organized 1869
Seat Harrisville
Largest city Harrisville
 • Total 1,791 sq mi (4,640 km2)
 • Land 675 sq mi (1,750 km2)
 • Water 1,116 sq mi (2,890 km2)  62.%%
 • Total 10,167
 • Density 16/sq mi (6/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Alcona County is a county of the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 10,167. Its county seat is Harrisville. Alphabetically it is the first county in Michigan; as its flag states, it is the "First of 83".


1842 Okkuddo Cheonoquet Anamickee Shawwano Oscoda Negwegon counties Michigan
A detail from A New Map of Michigan with its Canals, Roads & Distances (1842) by Henry Schenck Tanner, showing Alcona County as Negwegon, the county's name from 1840 to 1843. Several nearby counties are also shown with names that would later be changed.

The county was created by the state legislature on April 1, 1840. It was at first named Negwegon County, after the name of a well-known Chippewa chief, also known as "Little Wing", who was an American ally against the British in the War of 1812. It was renamed to Alcona County on March 8, 1843, after a neologism manufactured by Henry Schoolcraft from parts of words from Native American languages, plus Arabic, Greek and Latin, which were amalgamated to mean "fine or excellent plain".

Initially, it was attached to Mackinac County for administrative purposes. The attachment shifted to Cheboygan County in 1853, to Alpena County in 1857, Iosco County in 1858, and Alpena County in 1859. Harrisville Township, then comprising the entire county, was organized in 1860. County government was organized in 1869. The County's slogan on its seal (a single gold star on a green field in the shape of Alcona County) is "First of 83," which refers to its place alphabetically among Michigan counties.

Alcona County has been forced to explore options to remedy a major budget shortfall resulting from an official's embezzlement. Former County Treasurer Thomas Katona pleaded guilty in June 2007 to charges that he embezzled over 1.2 million dollars from county funds to invest them into a Nigerian scam he fell for.

Katona was sentenced to 9–14 years imprisonment on June 12, 2007 by the 23rd Circuit Court. Judge William Myles said Katona's crimes warranted more severe punishment than called for in state sentencing guidelines, due to the amount of money involved and the number of victims in the case.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,791 square miles (4,640 km2), of which 675 square miles (1,750 km2) is land and 1,116 square miles (2,890 km2) (62%) is water.

The area is part of the Au Sable State Forest, specifically the Grayling FMU (Alcona, Crawford, Oscoda, and northern Iosco counties). The county is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.


Lakes in the county include:

  • Lake Huron
  • Alcona Lake
  • Badger Lake
  • Bear Lake
  • Brownlee Lake
  • Byron Lake
  • Cedar Lake
  • Clear Lake
  • Crooked Lake
  • Crystal Lake
  • Curtis Lake
  • Honawan Lake
  • Horseshoe Lake
  • Hubbard Lake, which is among the twenty largest inland lakes in the state.
  • Hunter Lake
  • Indian Lake
  • Jenkins lake
  • Jewell Lake
  • Lost Lake
  • North Hoist Lake
  • North Lake
  • O'Brien Lake
  • Poplar Lake
  • Reid Lake
  • South Hoist Lake
  • Tompson Lake

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 185
1870 696 276.2%
1880 3,107 346.4%
1890 5,409 74.1%
1900 5,691 5.2%
1910 5,703 0.2%
1920 5,912 3.7%
1930 4,989 −15.6%
1940 5,463 9.5%
1950 5,856 7.2%
1960 6,352 8.5%
1970 7,113 12.0%
1980 9,740 36.9%
1990 10,145 4.2%
2000 11,719 15.5%
2010 10,942 −6.6%
2020 10,167 −7.1%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 10,942 people living in the county. 97.9% were White, 0.6% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% Black or African American, 0.2% of some other race and 0.9% of two or more races. 1.1% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).

As of the 2000 United States Census, the county held 11,719 people, 5,132 households, and 3,566 families. The population density was 17 people per square mile (7/km2). There were 10,584 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.04% White, 0.16% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.06% from other races, and 0.93% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 23.4% were of English, 23.0% German, 9.2% Irish, 7.7% Polish, 7.5% French and 5.0% French-Canadian ancestry according to 2012 American Community Survey. 98.2% spoke English as their first language. Those citing "American" ancestry in Alcona County are of overwhelmingly English extraction, however most English Americans identify simply as having American ancestry because their roots have been in North America for so long, in some cases since the 1600s.

There were 5,132 households; 20.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 5.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.50% were non-families. 26.60% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.67.

The county population spread showed 19.00% under the age of 18, 4.60% from 18 to 24, 20.90% from 25 to 44, 31.00% from 45 to 64, and 24.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females there were 102.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,362, and the median income for a family was $35,669. Males had a median income of $29,712 versus $20,566 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,653. About 9.10% of families and 12.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.80% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.


Alcona County is considered to be part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord. and the Presbytery of Mackinac ( and the Presbyterian Church USA (Presbyterian Church/USA-

As of 2012, these church meetinghouses were listed in Alcona County:

  • Baptist (general listing) – 7
  • Lutheran – 7
  • Presbyterian (general) – 3
  • Methodist (general) – 3 –
  • Episcopal – 1
  • Seventh-Day Adventist – 1
  • Rome Catholic Church - 3

There were no meetinghouses of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Alcona in 2018.



  • US 23 — north of Standish, it has been designated the Sunrise Side Coastal Highway. Parallels the Lake Huron shore, connects with M-72 in Harrisville. US 23 is the most proximate connector to Alpena and Mackinaw City.
  • M-65 — runs along the western side of the county, from US 23 north of Standish to Rogers City.
  • M-72 — In 1936, downtown Harrisville became the eastern terminus of the 133 mile (214 kilometers) M-72, which runs across the lower peninsula from Empire, Michigan. It is one of three true cross peninsular highways.
  • F-30 — runs from US 23 at Greenbush through Mikado to M-65 at Glennie.
  • F-32
  • F-41 — runs north–south from US 23 at Oscoda to US 23 south of Ossineke.


Alcona County has been a part of developing the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, which became a public airport in 1993. It now occupies a portion of the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which is in Oscoda Township, Michigan in neighboring Iosco County, Michigan. It is primarily used for cargo and light general aviation activities. The Airport offers 24-hour near all weather daily access.




Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities


Historical markers

There are two recognized historical markers in the county:

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Alcona para niños

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