Inside the Water of the Ogemaw Spring
Ogemaw Springs is the oldest settlement in Ogemaw (Chippewa for “chief”) County. It grew after a mill was erected along the Rifle River in 1871 and a post office began operating in 1873.
So why the 'springs' part of the name? A fresh water spring in the village was the only supplier of water...not just for resident use, but for the train engines that came through on the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad.
By 1873 Ogemaw Springs had a grocery store, post office and a few sawmills, all serving two hundred people.
The town was doing well as a lumber town, supplying wood to other parts of the state and country until the “Panic of 1873” hit - the economic depression that slowed everything down. In 1875 the village made an attempt to further progress by bidding for the position of county seat; unfortunately for them, that honor went to West Branch which aided in the community's decline.
According to the Historical Marker that sits at the spring, in 1888 the local Board of health made it mandatory for residents not to dump their garbage or waste into the spring, as it was their only source.
In 1893 the post office shut down and sealing the town's fate was the depletion of timber, slowing down the lumber business.
The gallery below shows the location of the village and the historic springs. An underwater camera even went into the spring to show how amazingly clean the water is. Not a bad place to add to a roadtrip this year!
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