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City of Cadillac
City
Downtown Pic 02.jpg
Nickname(s): 
Tree City USA, City on the Lakes
Location of Cadillac within Wexford County, Michigan
Location of Cadillac within Wexford County, Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Wexford
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
Area
 • Total 9.02 sq mi (23.36 km2)
 • Land 7.16 sq mi (18.54 km2)
 • Water 1.86 sq mi (4.82 km2)
Elevation
1,309 ft (399 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 10,355
 • Estimate 
(2012)
10,270
 • Density 1,446.2/sq mi (558.4/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
49601
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-12320
GNIS feature ID 1619393
Website http://www.cadillac-mi.net

Cadillac is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and is the county seat of Wexford County. The population was 10,355 at the 2010 census. The city is situated at the junction of US 131, M-55 and M-115. The geographic center of Michigan is approximately five miles (8.05 km) north-northwest of Cadillac.

Cadillac became the county seat after the so-called "Battle of Manton," in which a show of force was involved in enforcing a controversial decision to move the county seat from Manton.

History

See also: History of Northern Michigan

Village of Clam Lake

In this 1872 map, Clam Lake is shown as the sole stop in Wexford County and as the northern-most stop on the Grand Rapids and Indiana rail line.
In this 1872 map, Clam Lake is shown as the sole stop in Wexford County and as the northern-most stop on the Grand Rapids and Indiana rail line.

Although European explorers and traders visited the area since the 18th century, permanent white communities were not established until some time later. Initial settlements were connected with the logging industry.

In 1871, Cadillac's first sawmill began operations. Originally called the Pioneer Mill, it was built by John R. Yale. That same year, George A. Mitchell, a prominent Cadillac banker and railroad entrepreneur, and Adam Gallinger, a local carpenter, formed the Clam Lake Canal Improvement and Construction Company. Two years later, the Clam Lake Canal was constructed between Big and Little Clam lakes, present-day Lakes Mitchell and Cadillac. Sawmill owners used the canal to transport timber from Big Clam Lake to the mills and railroad sites—the G.R. & I. Railroad had reached the area in 1872—on Little Clam Lake, in Cadillac.

Cadillac was originally named Clam Lake and was incorporated as a village in 1874. George Mitchell was elected the first mayor. The village was incorporated as a city in 1877 and renamed Cadillac, after Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, a Frenchman who made the first permanent settlement at Detroit in 1701.

Battle of Manton

The Wexford County seat of government, originally located in Sherman, was moved to Manton in 1881, as the result of a compromise between the feuding residents of Cadillac and Sherman. Cadillac partisans, however, won the county seat by county-wide vote in April 1882. The day following the election a sheriff's posse left the city for Manton by special train to seize the county records. After arriving and collecting a portion of the materials, however, an angry crowd confronted the Cadillac men and drove them from the town.

When the sheriff returned to Cadillac, a force consisting of several hundred armed men was assembled; this group reportedly included a brass band. The Sheriff's force, some of whom may have been intoxicated, traveled back to Manton to seize the remaining records. Although Manton residents confronted the Cadillac men and barricaded the courthouse, the posse successfully seized the documents and, in dubious glory, returned to Cadillac.

City of Cadillac

Cadillac, Michigan 1971 Commemorative Plate obverse
1871-1971 Centennial commemorative plate that depicts logging, Shay Locomotive, lumber milling, and the third ward school.

In 1878, Ephraim Shay perfected his Shay locomotive, which was particularly effective in its ability to climb steep grades, maneuver sharp turns and manage imperfections in railroad tracks. Cadillac was home to the Michigan Iron Works Company, which manufactured the Shay locomotive for a short time in the early 1880s. It was however the lumber industry that continued to dominate the city, drawing in a large immigrant labor force, most of whom were Swedish (two of Cadillac's sister cities are Mölnlycke, Sweden, and Rovaniemi, Finland).

Cadillac City Park
The City Park, featuring the Kris Eggle Memorial Fountain and the Rotary Pavilion

In 1899, the Cadillac Club formed, the forerunner of the Cadillac Area Chamber of Commerce. Gradually, various manufacturing firms found success in Cadillac. Cadillac's range of industries includes the manufacture of pleasure boats, automotive parts, water-well components, vacuum cleaners, and rubber products.

In 1936, the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps created the Caberfae Ski Area, which led to promotion of the area as a tourist center. Caberfae remains in operation today, as the oldest ski resort in the midwest. Tourism has since become an important sector of Cadillac's economy. In the summer, tourists travel to the city for boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and camping. During the fall, hunting and color tours are popular. The winter is possibly the busiest season; the area can be found packed with downhill skiers, cross-country skiers, ice-fishers, snow-shoers and–most of all-snowmobilers. The North American Snowmobile Festival (NASF) is held on frozen Lake Cadillac every winter.

Thirsty's, a gas station on M-55 west of Cadillac, was the home of Samantha or "Sam The Bear" from the 1970s through the late 1990s, when Sam died of old age.

In October 1975 the rock group Kiss visited Cadillac and performed at the Cadillac High School gymnasium. They played the concert to honor the Cadillac High School football team. In previous years, the team had compiled a record of sixteen consecutive victories, but the 1974 squad opened the season with two losses. The assistant coach, Jim Neff, an English teacher and rock'n'roll fan, thought to inspire the team by playing Kiss music in the locker room. He also connected the team's game plan, K-I-S-S or "Keep It Simple Stupid", with the band. The team went on to win seven straight games and their conference co-championship. After learning of their association with the team's success, the band decided to visit the school and play for the homecoming game.

Shay Locomotive
The Shay Locomotive

Historic landmarks

Cadillac maintains a number of state historic landmarks. Most are marked with a green "Michigan Historical Marker" sign that includes a description of the landmark. There are six markers within the city limits: 'Cadillac Carnegie Library,' 'Charles T. Mitchell House,' 'Clam Lake Canal,' 'Cobbs & Mitchell Building,' 'Cobbs & Mitchell No. 1' and the 'Shay Locomotive,' which is pictured at the right. Two more are in the near Cadillac area ('Caberfae Ski Resort' and 'Greenwood Disciples of Christ Church') and another two are dispersed in surrounding Wexford County ('Battle of Manton' and '1st Wexford County Court House').

Geography

Topography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.02 square miles (23.36 km2), of which 7.16 square miles (18.54 km2) is land and 1.86 square miles (4.82 km2) is water.

The 1,150-acre (5 km2) Lake Cadillac is entirely within the city limits. The larger, 2,580-acre (10 km2) Lake Mitchell is nearby on the west side of the city, with 1,760 feet (540 m) of shoreline within the city's municipal boundary. The lakes were connected by a stream which was replaced in 1873 by the Clam Lake Canal. The canal was featured on Ripley's Believe It or Not in the 1970s due to the phenomenon that in winter the canal freezes before the lakes and then after the lakes freeze, the canal thaws and remains unfrozen for the rest of the winter.

Cadillac sits on the eastern edge of the Manistee National Forest and the surrounding area is heavily wooded with mixed hardwood and conifer forests. A main agricultural industry in the area is Christmas tree farming. Cadillac was chosen in 1988 to donate the holiday tree to sit on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C.

The area surrounding Cadillac is primarily rural, and is considered to be part of Northern Michigan. The small size of nearby communities make the city a major commercial and industrial hub of the region.

Cityscape

The commercial center of the city is located on the eastern edge of Lake Cadillac. Most downtown buildings range from two to five stories in height and face the traditional corridor of travel through town, Mitchell Street, the city's tree-lined main street. The downtown contains a movie theater, gift shops, restaurants, a bookstore, specialty food stores, jewelers, clothing retailers and various other businesses. The Courthouse Hill Historic District, established in April 2005, lies adjacent to the city's commercial center. The District contains a number of large Victorian-style residences built by the lumber barons and businessmen who helped establish the city in the 1870s. Population and building density is highest in this area.

On the western portion of Lake Cadillac, where M-55 intersects M-115, is what is locally referred to as Cadillac West. This is a small commercial district, bordering Mitchell State Park and the two lakes, which caters mostly to tourists. It contains a number of motels and restaurants.

Along the northern and southern stretches of the lake are the residential areas of the city. They are generally of low to moderate density, characterized primarily by single family structures.

Climate

Cadillac experiences a typical northern Michigan climate, undergoing temperate seasonal changes, influenced by the presence of Lake Michigan and the inevitable lake effect. Winters are generally cold with large amounts of snowfall. Summers are warm. The average high temperature in July is 80 °F (27 °C) and the average low is in February, at 9 °F (−13 °C). Summer temperatures can exceed 90 °F (32 °C), and winter temperatures can drop below 0 °F (−18 °C). Average annual rainfall is 30 inches (76 cm), and average annual snowfall is 81 inches (206 cm) . Snowfall typically occurs between the months of November and March. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Cadillac has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

Climate data for Cadillac Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 26
(-3.3)
27
(-2.8)
36
(2.2)
52
(11.1)
65
(18.3)
75
(23.9)
80
(26.7)
78
(25.6)
69
(20.6)
57
(13.9)
41
(5)
30
(-1.1)
53
(11.67)
Average low °F (°C) 11
(-11.7)
9
(-12.8)
18
(-7.8)
30
(-1.1)
41
(5)
52
(11.1)
56
(13.3)
54
(12.2)
48
(8.9)
38
(3.3)
27
(-2.8)
17
(-8.3)
33.4
(0.79)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.7
(43)
1.6
(41)
1.9
(48)
2.7
(69)
3.0
(76)
3.1
(79)
2.9
(74)
2.9
(74)
3.5
(89)
2.8
(71)
2.7
(69)
1.7
(43)
30.4
(772)
Source: Weatherbase

Superfund sites

Cadillac is also home to two superfund sites according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. One located at 1100 Wright Street, the former home of Kysor Industrial Corp. The other is located at 1002 6th Street, the former home of Northernaire Plating.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 2,213
1890 4,461 101.6%
1900 5,997 34.4%
1910 8,375 39.7%
1920 9,750 16.4%
1930 9,570 −1.8%
1940 9,855 3.0%
1950 10,425 5.8%
1960 10,112 −3.0%
1970 9,990 −1.2%
1980 10,199 2.1%
1990 10,104 −0.9%
2000 10,000 −1.0%
2010 10,355 3.6%
Est. 2015 10,373 0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 10,355 people, 4,280 households, and 2,625 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,446.2 inhabitants per square mile (558.4/km2). There were 4,927 housing units at an average density of 688.1 per square mile (265.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.6% White, 0.5% African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.0% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

There were 4,280 households of which 32.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 16.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.7% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.90.

The median age in the city was 36.5 years. 24.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 10% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.4% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 17.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.4% male and 52.6% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 10,000 people, 4,118 households, and 2,577 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,466.0 per square mile (566.1/km²). There were 4,466 housing units at an average density of 654.7 per square mile (252.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.55% White, 0.21% Black or African American, 0.92% Native American, 0.63% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.28% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. 1.18% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,118 households out of which 32.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.9% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 31.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.96.

In the city, the population was spread out with 26.2% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 16.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,899, and the median income for a family was $36,825. Males had a median income of $29,773 versus $21,283 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,801. About 10.9% of families and 13.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.4% of those under age 18 and 13.3% of those age 65 or over.

Lou Gehrig's Disease

Based on a single, limited study involving twenty people, some people have labeled Cadillac as one of three "hot spots" for Lou Gehrig's Disease in the US. However, the study made no attempt to ascertain the occurrence of the disease in other parts of the state, or elsewhere in the country. The study was designed to examine the possible occurrence of the disease due to genetic influences. The occurrence of the disease within the city limits of Cadillac is reportedly over 100 times the normal rate. The cause of the abnormally large occurrence of the disease in Cadillac remains unknown.

Transportation

Major highways

Cadillac is situated as the confluence of three highways: US 131, M-55 and M-115. Prior to 2001, the northern end of the freeway portion of US 131 was located at the southern entrance to Cadillac. With the construction of a bypass, the US 131 freeway was extended around the east side of the city. The former route of the highway through downtown Cadillac was redesignated as BUS US 131. In the city, BUS US 131 is named Mitchell Street, after George Mitchell, but may be referred to as main street.

  • US 131 bypasses the city to the east. The freeway continues southerly toward Big Rapids and Grand Rapids and northerly toward Manton before transitioning to a two-lane highway for the remainder of the distance to Petoskey.

  • Bus. US 131, a loop route through downtown, running largely along the former route of US 131 through the city.
  • M-55 is a major two-lane east-west route across the state, connecting with Manistee on the west and Houghton Lake and Tawas City on the east.
  • M-115, another major two-lane route, runs diagonally from Clare to the southeast to Frankfort to the northwest.

Rail

The city is serviced by rail via the Great Lakes Central Railroad. This is primarily a freight line, although passenger service is expected in the future.

Public transit

Non-motorized transportation

The White Pine Trail's northern terminus is in Cadillac. The trail, which stretches 92 miles (148 km) and originates from Comstock Park, follows an abandoned railroad bed into the center of the city. The trail is paved from the village of Leroy 16 miles north to Cadillac.

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