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Roscommon County, Michigan facts for kids

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Roscommon County
Roscommon County Building in Roscommon
Roscommon County Building in Roscommon
Map of Michigan highlighting Roscommon 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 1840 (created)
1875 (organized)
Named for County Roscommon, Ireland
Seat Roscommon
Largest settlement Houghton Lake
Roscommon (incorporated)
 • Total 580 sq mi (1,500 km2)
 • Land 520 sq mi (1,300 km2)
 • Water 60 sq mi (200 km2)  10%%
 • Total 23,459
 • Density 47/sq mi (18/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Roscommon County ( rahs-COMM-ən) is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 23,459. The county seat is Roscommon. The county was founded in 1840 and organized in 1875.


1842 Manistee Kawtawwabet Missaukee Mickenauk Ogemaw Kanotin Notipeskago Aishcum Unwattin Kaykakee Gladwin Arenac counties Michigan
A detail from A New Map of Michigan with its Canals, Roads & Distances (1842) by Henry Schenck Tanner, showing Roscommon County as "Mickenauk" (a misspelling of Mikenauk, the county's name from 1840 to 1843.) Several nearby counties are also shown with names that would later be changed.

The county was formed by the Michigan Legislature in 1840 as Mikenauk County, then renamed Roscommon County in 1843. It was administered by Michilimackinac (Mackinac), Cheboygan, and Midland counties, in succession, prior to the organization of county government in 1875. Roscommon County was named after County Roscommon, Ireland.

There are three official Michigan historical markers in the county. They are:

  • Gerrish
  • Pioneer House
  • Terney House


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 580 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 520 square miles (1,300 km2) is land and 60 square miles (160 km2) (10%) is water. Roscommon County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan. Roscommon County is part of the Au Sable State Forest including Roscommon FMU (Ogemaw and Roscommon counties).

Geographic features

Glaciers shaped the area. A large portion of the area is the so-called Grayling outwash plain, which consists of broad outwash plain including sandy ice-disintegration ridges; jack pine barrens, some white pine-red pine forest, and northern hardwood forest. Large lakes were created by glacial action.

  • The Roscommon Virgin Pine Stand is a 160-acre (650,000 m2) parcel within the Au Sable State Forest,8 miles (12 km) north of St. Helen, Michigan, (Location 8 miles east of Roscommon, off Sunset Drive) is an old-growth stand of red pine, which includes a former national champion red pine.

Major highways

  • I-73 (future)
  • I-75
  • BL I-75
  • US 127
  • M-18
  • M-55
  • M-157
  • F-18
  • F-28
  • F-97

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,459
1890 2,033 39.3%
1900 1,787 −12.1%
1910 2,274 27.3%
1920 2,032 −10.6%
1930 2,055 1.1%
1940 3,668 78.5%
1950 5,916 61.3%
1960 7,200 21.7%
1970 9,892 37.4%
1980 16,374 65.5%
1990 19,776 20.8%
2000 25,469 28.8%
2010 24,449 −4.0%
2020 23,459 −4.0%
US Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2018

As of the 2000 United States Census, there were 25,469 people, 11,250 households, and 7,616 families residing in the county. The population density was 49 people per square mile (19/km2). There were 23,109 housing units at an average density of 44 per square mile (17/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 97.99% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.10% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. 0.80% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 24.4% were of German, 12.7% English, 9.9% Irish, 9.2% Polish, 9.2% American and 6.7% French ancestry. 97.2% spoke English as their first language. Those citing "American" ancestry in Roscommon 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 11,250 households, out of which 21.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.70% were married couples living together, 7.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.69.

The county population contained 20.00% under the age of 18, 5.50% from 18 to 24, 21.40% from 25 to 44, 29.30% from 45 to 64, and 23.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 47 years. For every 100 females there were 96.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,029, and the median income for a family was $35,757. Males had a median income of $31,878 versus $20,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,837. About 8.60% of families and 12.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.90% of those under age 18 and 6.50% of those age 65 or over.


Attractions and events

The community is centered in the area of two very large lakes, in the middle of large state forests. Wildlife are nearby, including bear, deer, eagles, Kirtland's warblers, and turkeys. Local attractions and activities include:

  • Birding
  • Bluegill Festival each summer in St. Helen.
  • Boating, paddling (canoe and kayak)
  • Bakery- Ausable Baking Company and Creamery [1]
  • Gym-The Craft Center of roscommon has a lot of great equipment and personal trainers for all your workout needs. [2]
  • Fishing, particularly trout fishing.
  • Fireman's Memorial- In honor of all the men and women who are firefighters. [3]
  • Firehouse Restaurant
  • Freds Bowling alley is a place to enjoy a nice dinner, play some pool and play cosmic or regular bowling.
  • Forest Dunes Golf Course, 11th ranked public golf course according to Golf Digest.
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Kirtland Warbler Habitat and Festival is to the north, a must for avid bird-watchers.
  • Michigan Shore-to-Shore Trail passes through the area. It runs from Empire to Oscoda, but also to points north and south. It is a 500-mile interconnected system of trails.
  • Nordic skiing
  • ORV and groomed snowmobile trails.
  • Restaurants
  • Saint Helen Power Sports is a great place to purchase many vehicles you would love to ride in the backwoods or back-roads.
  • Sailing
  • Tip-up-town winter festival, Houghton Lake last two weekends in January.

Roscommon is home to the Firemen's Memorial Festival, which began is 1979 in honor of the fallen heroes. It is held on the third weekend in September.

Roscommon Zoo - home of domestic and exotic animals



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities


  • Au Sable Township
  • Backus Township
  • Denton Township
  • Gerrish Township
  • Higgins Township
  • Lake Township
  • Lyon Township
  • Markey Township
  • Nester Township
  • Richfield Township
  • Roscommon Township

Images for kids

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