Houghton Lake, Michigan

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Houghton Lake is an unincorporated community in Roscommon Township, Roscommon County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The Census Bureau has defined a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes with the same name. The population was 3,749 at the 2000 census.

The community is situated on the southwest shore of Houghton Lake. The CDP includes the nearby community of Houghton Lake Heights, which is about one mile northwest along the shore of the lake. M-55 runs through both communities. The community of Prudenville is adjacent to the CDP on the east, at the southeast end of the lake. US 127 passes just west of the communities. A small portion of the CDP area extends into Lake Township to the north.

Houghton Lake, originally named "Roscommon Lake," welcomed its first white settlers, the Emery's, in 1873. Augustus Emery, his wife and their 7 children left their home in Chesaning, Michigan making their way, on foot, to an area three miles south of the lake via the well-known Saginaw Trail. It was here that Mr. Emery and his three sons, Augustus, Jr., 21, William, 19, and Harvey, 17 would construct the family home on 160 acres of homesteaded property.

Shortly after the arrival of the Emery's, lumbering became the primary industry in the area. As saw mills sprung up around lumber camps, more settlers arrived. Around 1883, a community at Houghton Lake had been created. Later, towards the end of the 1800's, the building of railroads provided transport for people from Detroit and other towns giving rise to a resort industry the area continues to be known for today. In 1879, after the untimely death of famous physician/explorer/geologist Douglass Houghton, Roscommon Lake was honorably renamed Houghton Lake. In 1927, the "Johnson Dance Hall," presently known as "The Playhouse," was erected and served for many years as the entertainment center for the area. Houghton Lake and the surrounding areas would continue to grow as a lumbering and resort community.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 7.5 square miles (19.5 km²), of which, 5.9 square miles (15.3 km²) of it is land and 1.6 square miles (4.2 km²) of it (21.49%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 3,749 people, 1,646 households, and 1,030 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 633.6 per square mile (244.5/km²). There were 3,057 housing units at an average density of 516.6/sq mi (199.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.95% White, 0.35% African American, 0.64% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.13% from other races, and 0.72% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.91% of the population.

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