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Otsego, Michigan
—  City  —
Location of Otsego, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°27′29″N 85°41′55″W / 42.45806, -85.69861
Country United States
State Michigan
County Allegan
 • Total 2.13 sq mi (5.52 km2)
 • Land 2.07 sq mi (5.36 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
Elevation 709 ft (216 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 3,956
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 3,954
 • Density 1,911.1/sq mi (737.9/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49078
Area code(s) 269
FIPS code 26-61620[4]
GNIS feature ID 0634156[5]

Otsego is a city in Allegan County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 3,956 at the 2010 census. The city is within Otsego Township, but is administratively autonomous.

Otsego is situated on M-89 about three miles (5 km) west of Plainwell and US 131. It is about nine miles (14 km) southeast of Allegan and the Kalamazoo River flows east to west through the city.

Geography[edit | edit source]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.13 square miles (5.52 km2), of which, 2.07 square miles (5.36 km2) is land and 0.06 square miles (0.16 km2) is water.[1]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

2010 census[edit | edit source]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 3,956 people, 1,597 households, and 1,064 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,911.1 inhabitants per square mile (737.9 /km2). There were 1,716 housing units at an average density of 829.0 per square mile (320.1 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.2% White, 0.6% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.3% of the population.

There were 1,597 households of which 36.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 15.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 33.4% were non-families. 27.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 27.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.5% were from 45 to 64; and 13.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.

2000 census[edit | edit source]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 3,934 people, 1,553 households, and 1,062 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,971 inhabitants per square mile (761 /km2). There were 1,632 housing units at an average density of 817.9 per square mile (315.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.10% White, 0.31% African American, 0.56% Native American, 0.38% Asian, 0.33% from other races, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.50% of the population.

There were 1,553 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.6% were married couples living together, 14.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.6% were non-families. 26.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 28.0% under the age of 18, 8.6% from 18 to 24, 31.6% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 12.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 92.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 85.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,525, and the median income for a family was $44,308. Males had a median income of $36,429 versus $25,054 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,521. About 4.6% of families and 6.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 7.9% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.

Notable natives[edit | edit source]

  • Forman Brown (1901–1996), songwriter, composer, author[6]
  • Sid Conrad (1923–2010), TV character actor
  • Hon. Wilson C. Edsell, state senator, Olivet College founder, founder of first national bank in Otsego, D.M. Canright supporter
  • Phil Regan, major league baseball player
  • Kevin VanDam, professional bass fisher, BASS Angler of the Year (1992, 1996, 1999, 2008, 2009). Graduated from Otsego High School.
  • Zeus, current record holder of world's largest dog

History[edit | edit source]

Otsego was established in 1831, called Pine Creek by its initial settlers: Giles Scott and Hull Sherwood. A post office was established in 1832 under the name of Allegan, the name being changed to Otsego in 1835 with the organization of Allegan County, spearheaded by Otsego resident Dr. Samuel Foster. 1833 brought a school to the new town, and a hotel - the Tompkins House - followed in the 1860s.

The 1880s saw some big advances for Otsego. In 1883, Otsego High School held its first commencement ceremony, graduating three students; A home-delivery milk route was started up in 1885; and 1886 brought the establishment of the volunteer fire department still in operation today, but no longer using horse-drawn water-wagons. The decade closes out with the formation of the city's Republican Club in 1888.

The city's popular baseball park was sold to the area Catholics as a site for a church in 1890. The Russell Buggy Company came to town as well, making popular ironclad carriages. The Bardeen Mansion was completed in 1894, and would remain a subject of public adoration until its decimation in the 1962-63. A smallpox epidemic swept the town in 1894, as well.

A flu epidemic struck 800 residents, killing some, in 1918.

Otsego was struck by a tornado in 1962, uprooting trees and wiping out electricity/telephone services for several days.

Entertainment[edit | edit source]

In the 1870s, visitors from all over the Midwest journeyed to Otsego to experience the "medicinal" waters at the Otsego Mineral Springs Bath House, which remained a regional draw until 1887 when George Bardeen's paper mill operation depleted the town's mineral springs.[7]

In 1881, Wilson C. Edsell built the town's first bank and opera house. Edsell's Opera House was the primary entertainment venue in town for many years until the opening of the Nickelodeon (Irv Nichols's theatre venture) in 1909. An Uncle Tom's Cabin troupe played the Opera House stage on an annual basis. Native American vaudeville shows, called medicine shows, were popular. Maro the Magician, Stock theatre groups, minstrel shows took the opera house stage on a regular basis, with the minstrel shows led by the town's one African American resident Jim Smith.

In 1894, the Mutual Improvement Club was formed to promote the study of Shakespeare.

During the 1902 baseball season, Otsego was home to Negro League baseball great Andrew "Rube" Foster, who played for George E. Bardeen's Michigan State League white semi-professional team, the Otsego Independents, before signing on as a pitcher with the Cuban X-Giants, considered by many to be the greatest team in Negro League history. He would later be instrumental in the founding of the Negro National League. For a time, Otsego had a "Rube Street," but it was renamed "Washington Street." On 17 April 2000, John Chapman, a local elementary teacher, petitioned the City Council to have one of the six baseball diamonds at Memorial Park renamed in Foster's honor. The city approved placement of a monument to him at the park by a 3-1 vote.

Otsego is the subject of several songs by Static-X.

Religion[edit | edit source]

  • 1835: A Baptist church was established, but wouldn't have a building until 1847.
  • 1837: First Congregational Church is organized, meeting in private homes until their church edifice was completed in 1845. The current church was completed in 1989.
  • 1842: A Methodist church was begun, building completed in 1847.
  • 1856: The Masonic Order was chartered as Otsego Lodge #78.
  • 1861: The Seventh-day Adventist Church planted a congregation in Otsego. It was there that Ellen G. White had her first visions, which led to the invention of Kellogg's Corn Flakes and the birth of the cereal industry.
  • 1890: A Catholic congregation is established.
  • 1894: The Maccabees form an Otsego chapter.
  • 1897: The Baptist congregation built horse shelters for their congregants, a move that would subsequently be imitated by the other churches.
  • 1905: The Catholic cemetery was consecrated.
  • 1906: Fire gutted the Catholic Church building.
  • 1911: Christian Science Society organized and would complete their building in 1923.
  • 1918: A Church of God (Anderson) congregation was begun in a house on Kalamazoo Street.
  • 1921: A Christian Reformed Church congregation was organized.
  • 1953: Baptist Drive-In Church opened and was received with great popularity.
  • 1960: St Margaret Catholic school was launched.
  • 1973: The Apostolic Church first opened its doors.
  • 1989: First Congregational Church opens their new building for worship services and demolishes the old building on Farmer St.

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Coordinates: 42°27′38″N 85°41′47″W / 42.46056, -85.69639

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