Comins is located in northern Oscoda County in the heart of Clinton Township.
The adage “In Michigan you are never more than 5 miles from a lake” holds true here. Many area lakes have excellent fishing, boating and swimming opportunities.
Comins residents and visitors flock to town to celebrate the 4th of July with a parade and share a community picnic put on by the Comins Mennonite Church at the Clinton Township Hall.
Shopping in Comins
Abbe’s Backlot Greenhouse, sells annuals, perennials and vegetable starts. Also hanging baskets and a variety of plants to beautify every garden and yard; Comins Market, “The Best Little Store in Town”. Selling groceries, liquors, beer, wine and gas. They also have an outstanding deli with subs, meats and cheeses. The outdoor area provides space for “Wild Goat food”, firewood, propane and ice; The Knothole Bar, best known for the Knothole burger, pizza and many beers on tap. They also have regular outdoor music, darts competitions and a pool table; Skyline Event Center has a Fine Arts Gallery and the Hot Spot Wi-Fi Café and is open Wed-Sun 12-8 p.m.; The Woodworkers Shoppe, The nation’s leader in quality log siding, knotty pine paneling, and log home products; U. S. Post Office provides the locals and visitors with postal services.
Attractions & things to do
Comins Caboose, A glimpse of the past. Located in the park along M-33 is the Grand Trunk Caboose. Visitors can tour the caboose during the summer when it is open to the public. The park also has a small gazebo and a bust of Ferdinand Stutzman, a local businessman; Clinton Township Park has a ball diamond, kids’ playground and a pavilion for family picnics and reunions; Cedar Valley Golf Club has 18 holes with a club house, golf pro, driving range and club rentals; McCollum Lake Campground is busy throughout the summer with campers. It has a boat launch, 20 campsites and picnic area; Bass Lake has public access for swimming and fishing; Come visit Comins, relax in the park, have a snack or meal and “get away from it all!”
After lumber companies cleared much of the timber of Oscoda County from 1870-1899, a land agent began contacting Amish and Mennonites in Ohio and Indiana in 1899, promoting the area as favorable to farming. Farming wasn’t easy, but the many Amish and Mennonites who settled in the Fairview and Comins areas grew accustom to life here and stayed on. Residents with a Mennonite heritage still make up much of Fairview’s population, and the spirit of sharing and helping neighbors that prevailed in the early days still exist today, as does the lumber industry.
Today’s travelers driving through the small town of Fairview, where M-33 and M-72 intersect, will notice a sign advising them that they are entering the designated “Wild Turkey Capital of Michigan,” famous for the flocks that roam the area. Businesses in this tiny village perched on the northern edge of the Au Sable River Valley are locally owned and operated and offer a hearty welcome to all visitors.
Northern Michigan Relief Sale, July 31 & August 1 at the Fairgrounds, auction of hand-made quilts, much more. Proceeds fund worldwide relief efforts; Skyline Event Center, many summer events. Visit their website www.skyline.events for updated information; Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad, a ¼ scale railroad, tunnel, high trestle, and depot gift shop; Karefree Ranch, guided horseback rides on beautiful wooded trails; Steiner Museum, pioneer and logging industry artifacts; Heritage Days, July 10-11, 2015 and much more; Au Sable River, Comins Flats, approx. 3 miles south of Fairview, is a common canoe stopping point.
The Family Bookshelf, unique gifts from around the world; Fairview Coffeeshop and Bakery, full menu, best donuts and cinnamon rolls; Fairview Food Market, with roots to 1904, excellent meat department; Fairview Hardware, all your hardware and woodstove needs, and a knowledgeable staff; Fairview Dollar, your neighborhood dollar store. Wellspring Luther Services, a 90 acre campus in Fairview, skilled nursing facility (rated among the top in nation), apartments and condos.
Greenwood Township is located in the northwest corner of Oscoda County. Established in 1883, the township was settled by pioneers from primarily New York and Pennsylvania and logging was the main industry. The village of Red Oak was a hub of activity in that era. After the logging era, farming was tried but the soil was so poor that even today there is no official agricultural zoned property in the township. With the many lakes and streams that connect to the Au Sable River, hunting and fishing soon became the primary reason for continued growth. Today the motto of Greenwood Township is “Woods, Water and Wildlife.” The tourist industry today still thrives because of the lakes, woods and trails provided in Greenwood Township.
In 2002, the township built a new Township Hall and Fire Department building on Williams Rd. The new facilities offer a gathering place for citizens, meeting place for township meetings and other public functions. We now have a beautiful nature walk trail and formal flower gardens that include a gazebo. The trail and flower gardens are built and maintained by a group of dedicated volunteers from our community and is open to the public. The walk includes stops along the way and an education on trees and plants native to our area.
Greenwood Township offers a great escape from the city with several of the finest golf courses in the state at Garland Resort. Located in the heart of Greenwood Township, Garland Resort offers the best in overnight and vacation accommodations, food and entertainment and offers several different courses for the beginner to the most avid of golfers.
The many lakes in the area offer the best in fishing and water sports. Whether you are looking for the quiet of a bed and breakfast or a stay at one of the lodges on the lakes, camping or just quiet walks in the woods, Greenwood Township is a great destination. The winters offer some of the finest snowmobile riding, snow shoeing and ice fishing as well.
If you would like to know more about us, the township offices are open Monday, Wednesday and Fridays from 10:00 am to 2:00 p.m. or call at 989-786-7872.
The history of Red Oak, Michigan, is tied to the lumber era and the railroads.
Red Oak was, once a thriving lumber town. It received a post office and station on the Au Sable & Northwestern Railroad in 1888. There are only a few signs of the town that once existed. This is now a scenic area, consisting of many hills, lakes, scenic drives, and farm land. At the junction of County Roads 489, (Red Oak Road), and Kneeland Road. On east Kneeland Road there is a historic structure, an old one-room schoolhouse. The log cabin next door was once the town’s Grange Hall, a meeting place for the families that tried to farm here following the lumber boom.
Most of this entire area region now is Kirtland’s Warbler Country. There are large stands of low scrub jack pine, the preferred nesting ground of this rare species.
Just to the north is a main county road that runs east and west. One designation for it is F-32, others County Road 608, and Miller Road, and it is one of the most scenic drives in all of Northeast Michigan. It winds through the county, to the east it runs along the Au Sable River just north of Mio, Michigan.
Red Oak is just eight miles north of Luzerne, Michigan, and 2 miles north of the Au Sable River.
Kneeland Road is a beautiful drive if you don’t mind gravel.
About 1884, a man named Albert Pott purchased the lumber rights and started cutting timber in the Au Sable River Valley of Oscoda County. By 1887, the A.J. Potts Company constructed a narrow gauge railroad in the area. The first engine, cars and rails were floated down the river on rafts from Grayling. Nothing was wasted in the development of the new town. The rafts were dismantled and the lumber used to build the company hospital.
The village was growing fast, adding two drug stores and eleven saloons and dance halls, a school and Methodist and Episcopal churches made Potts a complete town. A local jail was made of 2×3’s laid flat and spike, together with hard board inside and out. The only window was so small the prisoner couldn’t even get his head out.
A Post Office was established on June 3, 1886. Jeremiah Hunt was the first Postmaster. The postal service lasted until 1906.
About 1890, the Pott’s Salt and Lumber Company tried to extend their company railroad to Oscoda. Their attempt failed and sent them into bankruptcy. The Loud Lumber Company took over the local industry and success followed. A rail line from Potts to Oscoda was completed and the town boomed.
Between 1891 and 1893, the town name was changed to McKinley in honor of the twenty-fifth president, William McKinley.
The growth was rapid and the economy sound with the timber industry.
In 1889, the town was ravaged by fire. It was thought a night watchman, who drank a little too much “fire water,” had kicked over a torch beside him. The engine house, round house and railroad shops were destroyed that night. When learning of the disaster, Loud had to make the decision to rebuild or move on. Because of the depleted timber supply in McKinley, Loud chose to start his operation over in Oscoda. Several buildings spared in the fire were moved to Comins for company use.
With the chief industry gone, the town rapidly failed and the estimated 2,000 left the area for employment elsewhere. Calvin O’Brien gained ownership of the property; a small lake, three miles east of McKinley, is still named for him. The largest town known to Oscoda County died that year. In quick decline, the one time boom town shrank to only two houses. However, McKinley is alive again. There are now over 300 home/cottage owners in the area. The Civic Center Association and the Fire Department Auxiliary are very active to support the community.
The community of Luzerne was started in 1881 when Major Myron B. Hagaman and his family moved here from Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The village of Luzerne lies between the East and West branches of Big Creek and is about 4 miles south of the Au Sable River. Albert Royce arrived the same year and built a dam across the East branch of Big Creek. From this location, he operated a grist and lumber mill. Hagaman became the miller for the grist mill. The dammed waters of the creek were used each spring to float logs down the creek to the Au Sable River.
The area was logged out by the 1890’s and many of the residents trying to hold on turned to farming to make a living. This was only successful for a few years as the sandy soil of the area proved impossible to farm. Much of the land reverted to Jack Pine and Scrub Oak and eventually became part of the Huron National Forest.
The name “Ma Deeter’s” and Luzerne go hand in hand. The first Deeter Hotel was built in 1920. However, only the foundation remains today. The present day “Ma Deeter’s” was built in 1940 and opened for business in 1941. The log cabin hotel and bar became the place to visit in Oscoda County and Ma Deeter was known far and wide for her hospitality.
The Michigan horseback riding and hiking trail passes through Luzerne and the county’s snowmobile and motorcycle trails circle the community. These trails, the Huron National Forest and the proximity of the Au Sable River make Luzerne a popular recreational area.
Today, the community is home to several businesses, an American Legion post, the Northwoods Civic Club, and it continues to grow. Tourism continues to be the main industry in the area.
Mio is located in the center of Oscoda County. It was established in 1889, and was a collective effort by all the small towns and villages throughout Oscoda County. Its importance lies in the expectations of the future. The placement of the county seat was no accident, and there were many considerations made. Water, roadways, train prospects and growth were all key factors for a future in a wilderness area. The main concern was that Mio should be accessible by all, which is why it was voted that the county seat be built there.
Growing was not an easy task. Fire, wars and fading industries created many challenges, but Mio pushed forward into the future and today flourishes in the fact that the decision was correct and has withstood the test of time. Proof of these facts is the Oscoda County Courthouse itself, standing tall, majestic and honorable for 115 years, to become Michigan’s oldest wooden structure still in use today. This Courthouse stands for many symbols important to Americans across the nation, beginning with the Constitution and all the benefits received as Americans striving for peace and prosperity in the New World.
Mack Lake is a small community in the southeastern section of Oscoda County, in the Township of Mentor. It has 174 acres with a shoreline of 4.8 miles in length.
There is a history to this area. Mack Lake was called Long Lake in the late 1800’s until Harrison Mack settled and founded Mack City. These were enterprising folks. The soil here was not suitable to grow wheat, so they grew crops of rye which they made bread of, and planted potatoes, and tried to grow apples in orchards planted in an area northwest of the lake. There were two Justice’s-of-the-Peace, mason, blacksmith and postmaster. Mail came in three times a week, the nearest bank was in West Branch, a school was built for the thirty-eight children who attended. As the timber disappeared, Mack Lake was abandoned.
This area has suffered the ravages of wildfire over many years and still people continue to return and build cottages. In the past few decades, people have been building homes and reside here all year long. Many are retired, and some work in surrounding towns. It is a quiet, tranquil community.
Deer, fox, beaver, and once in a while a black bear are seen. Although Mack Lake is not a trophy lake, we enjoy the beautiful sunset and the birds as they fly over.
The Homeowners Association is very active, as it provides for the general improvement of the community. It is a good place to take a walk, smell the fresh air, cast in a line (whether you want to fish or not), and most of all it is a place to relax.
Resources: Wilderness Chronicle; Mich. Gazetteer 1889, Lake & Stream Survey