Oscoda, Michigan

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Oscoda is an unincorporated community in the U.S. state of Michigan located on the northern side of the Au Sable River where it enters Lake Huron. The community of Au Sable is on the other side of the river. Oscoda is in Oscoda Township in Iosco County, and not in Oscoda County, which is to the northwest. The 1990 census population was 1061, although 3,000 personnel were stationed at nearby Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Oscoda is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes. As of the 2000 census (several years after the closure of the air force base), the population was 992. The post office at Oscoda first opened with the name AuSable on September 23, 1856. The name changed to Oscoda on July 1, 1875.[3]

Nearby is the Lumberman's Monument, in honor of the lumberjacks that first populated the area. The State of Michigan has designated Oscoda as the official home of Paul Bunyan due to the earliest documented publications in the Oscoda Press, August 10, 1906, by James MacGillivray (later revised and published in The Detroit News in 1910).[4]

Wurtsmith Air Force Base (originally Camp Skeel) was located just outside the community from 1923 to 1993. Wurtsmith was the site of the Strategic Air Command's 379th Bombardment Wing consisting of one nuclear-armed B-52 bomber squadron and one air refueling squadron equipped with KC-135s. The Charter Township of Oscoda created a Redevelopment Authority with the cooperation of the Michigan Legislature. The Wurtsmith Renaissance Zone was created in 1997, which exempted businesses and residents of the 5,000 acre (20 kmĀ²) zone from all state and most local taxes.

The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport is now a public airport. It occupies a portion of the base and is primarily used for cargo and light general aviation activities.[5] Other tenants include the Aune Medical Center, Alcona Health Center Dental Clinic, Alpena Community College, Yankee Air Force Museum - Wurtsmith Division,[6] and numerous private businesses. The former military housing units have been refurbished and now serve as a major population base in the Oscoda area.


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