Grayling, Michigan

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Grayling (pronounced /ˈɡreɪlɪŋ/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Crawford County.[3] The population was 1,952 at the 2000 census. Grayling takes its name from the Grayling fish that was once prevalent in its lakes and streams.

Grayling is situated within Grayling Township, though it is politically independent. It is located in the middle of Northern Michigan. The highways make it the natural 'gateway' to much of "up north," as locals and many visitors would call it.

Contents

History

  • Michael Sloat Hartwick was Grayling's first settler. On the west side of the railroad tracks, he built a log hotel. The railroad platted out 40 acres (where Grayling now stands), naming it "Crawford." Fish swimming in the river were identified as Grayling. It is said that the residents preferred that name to "Crawford," and renamed it after the fish.
  • Grayling's access to two major rivers (and the presence of the vast forest around it), made it important in the lumber era. Logs were floated down the rivers to the lakes.[4]
  • Railroads helped make Grayling a hub of activity. By the 1920s, lumbering faded and recreation became a mainstay.
  • Grayling had other names through the years. It was called "AuSable", "Forest", "Crawford Station", and during the lumbering era "Milltown".[5]
  • The Grayling Fish Hatchery was founded in 1914 by timber baron Rasmus Hanson (1846–1927).[6] He hoped to restore the Grayling to the Au Sable River system; ironically its disappearance was caused, at least in part, by the massive habitat destruction caused by logging, which was the source of Mr. Hanson's and other lumber barons' immense wealth. Other famous contributors to the initial costs of the Hatchery included Henry Ford, Edsel Ford, and Thomas Edison.[6] Sadly, the Grayling became extinct in Michigan. Nevertheless, the Hatchery continued to play an important role in natural resource conservation. In 1926 it was sold to the State of Michigan. It continued to be operated as a fish hatchery and tourist attraction until the mid 1960’s. In 1995 the State of Michigan sold the property to Crawford County. It is being operated by the Grayling Recreation Authority which is actively involved in its restoration.[7]

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