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The Gaylord Story

To tell the Gaylord Story is to to tell about the renaissance of a small community in northern Michigan.  Gaylord is 60 miles south of the the Mackinac Bridge on I-75.  The expressway, I-75, starts at Sault Ste. Marie, Canada and ends south of Tampa, Florida.  This super-highway is a very important part of of Gaylord's economic base.

Gaylord is a community that has a balanced economic base of tourism, recreation, agriculture, oil & natural gas, manufacturing, warehouse distribution, retail, government services, and more.  Gaylord is the county seat of Otsego County.

Gaylord's most distinguishing characteristic is the Alpine motif in the the central business district.  The Alpine theme has been adopted throughout the city and county.  The Gaylord Story was created in 1968 Herald Elgas, president of Gaylord State Bank in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.  The purpose of the slide presentation was to show how Gaylord transformed itself into the Alpine Village. 

The following pictures and text are excerpts from the 1982 version of the Gaylord Story.

45th The Gaylord Story really starts with Gaylord/Otsego Chamber of Commerce.  Seen here is the current Information Center located on the corner of Otsego Avenue and First Street.  The building, a replica of the City-County Building, houses the Gaylord Car.
45th Parallel This sign locates Gaylord at the 45th Parallel, half way between the Equator and the North Pole.  This sign is at the southern entrance to Gaylord at the corner of Old 27 and McCoy Road.  Gaylord is a well planned cross-roads community in the geographic center of Michigan.
Where did the idea of an Alpine Village come from?  It originated in 1938 at the Otsego Ski Club located at the east city limits of Gaylord.  The late Don McLouth, president and owner of the club, formed a complex of buildings all in Swiss chalet architecture.  He tried then to get the community to adapt to this same kind of style, but the time was not right.  It was not until 1963 that the idea was resurrected and so began the magical transformation of a typical small town into the Alpine Village.  The main lodge, shown here, features a A-frame with exposed beams, cut field stone, and in traditional blue trim.
Shown here is the view from the main lodge of the Otsego Ski Club.  This valley contains the headwaters of the Pigeon, the Sturgeon, and the Black Rivers.  The valley is beautiful all seasons of the year - showcasing brilliant colors in the fall and dressed in pure white snow in the winter.

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Otsego County
Historical Society

320 W. Main St.
Gaylord, Michigan

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1223
Gaylord, MI  49734

(989) 732-4568



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