PROGRESS 2020: Our towns

News File Photo Chrissy Prince hands a box of baklava to the businesses landlord and frequent customer, Earl Juergens, at The Baklava Shop in Atlanta in this 2019 archive photo.

Northeast Michigan is a diverse mix of communities, each with its own unique contribution to the region’s economy. Here’s a look at some of those towns.


Fifteen minutes south of Alpena, on U.S.-23 in Alcona County, Ossineke is home to about 1,000 residents, a state park, and a giant ox.

Anchored by its landmark Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox statues, the unincorporated community boasts several businesses along its main business corridor, from restaurants to a gun shop to a social service agency outpost.

South of Ossineke, Negwegon State Park protects 4,000 acres along the southern tip of Thunder Bay. Ossineke is also known as the home of Sanborn Elementary School, a cutting tool manufacturing plant, and a dinosaur-themed statue park.

News Photo by Crystal Nelson The entrance to Harrisville State Park is seen.


The small coastal community of Rogers City is nestled in between larger communities Alpena and Cheboygan.

The city has a nautical history evident in its themed aesthetic and business names downtown. It is rich in natural resources, which provides boaters, fisherman, hunters, rock hounds, and other outdoor enthusiasts an ample menu of things to do.

To the north of Rogers City is the 40 Mile Point lighthouse and Hoeft State Park, while to the south there are the old and new lighthouses to tour in Presque Isle Township. There are also many small inland lakes nearby for ice fishing, snowmobiling, and cross country skiing are popular.


News File Photo A scene from the 2018 Nautical Festival in downtown Rogers City.

Tucked between Hillman and Gaylord, Atlanta is the county seat of Montmorency County and is the only Michigan town to actually sit directly on the 45th Parallel.

As the Elk Capital of Michigan, Atlanta is home to the annual Elk Festival, which takes place every September. Atlanta celebrates its claim to fame with a large stuffed elk inside a glass case that greets visitors as they round a curve and come into the downtown area.

While Atlanta employs many people in professional service businesses, the town is also known for its tourism. Atlanta is home to several state forest campgrounds, including Clear Lake State Park, and wildlife enthusiasts can take advantage of 11 area lakes.

Sportsmen who love to hunt and fish and travel secluded trails and see bear, elk, deer and other wildlife. During the wintertime, Atlanta is the headquarters of the annual Sno*Drift Rally, a rally racing event held on snowy, gravel service roads.


News File Photo A scene from the 2019 Posen Potato Festival.

Best known for the annual Posen Potato Festival in September, the village may be small but its spirit is big.

A close-knit farming community consisting of many families of Polish descent, Posen gears up each year for its festival that brings in hundreds of visitors to this Presque Isle County village with a population of just 234, as of 2010 Census numbers.


The quiet city of Harrisville, located along U.S.-23 about a half-mile from Lake Huron, comes alive in the summer.

Tourists like to frequent Harrisville State Park, located on 107 acres of forest, with frontage on Lake Huron. The park is also close to Sturgeon Point Lighthouse and Negwegon State Park.

News Photo by Julie Riddle Ossineke is seen through the legs of the towering Paul Bunyan statute on U.S.-23.

Tourists can stop for coffee at Alcona Coffee Co., eat lunch at Dockside Cafe or the Flour Garden, enjoy a locally brewed beer at the Alcona Brew Haus, or grab a slice at Harbortown Pizza. The city is among the first in Northeast Michigan to allow recreational marijuana to be sold, with its first retail location to open within the coming months.

Tourists particularly like to flock to the city on Labor Day weekend, where approximately 300 artists and exhibitors participate in the Harrisville Harmony Weekend Arts and Craft Festival in front of the courthouse lawn.

The city is also known for its Fourth of July celebration, where the city holds a parade and fireworks.


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