Gaylord, Michigan

Gaylord, Michigan

Gaylord is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 3,681. It is the county seat of Otsego County.

Gaylord styles itself as an "Alpine Village" and the city center features many buildings with Tyrolean traverse style motifs. Receiving abundant snowfall and experiencing mild summer temperatures, in recent years the area around Gaylord has become known for its many skiing and golf resorts, one of the largest such concentrations in the Midwest. Gaylord features an annual event in July known as the Alpenfest. Participants are encouraged to dress in traditional Swiss stylings.

Gaylord is also seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord; it is by far the smallest settlement serving as the location of an active Roman Catholic cathedral in the United States.

Gaylord has two high schools: Gaylord High School, which is one of the largest high schools in Northern Michigan and competes in the Big North Conference along with the five other large high schools in that area of the state. Its 2007 enrollment of 1,076 pupils places it in Class A (large schools) of the Michigan High School Athletic Association. St. Mary Cathedral School is a K-12 school which, despite its small size, has a successful athletic tradition. It is the only private school in the 9-member Ski Valley League and its 2007 high school enrollment of 110 places it in MHSAA's Class D.

Gaylord has a sister city: Pontresina, Switzerland.


  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.0 square miles (10.2 km²) of which less than 0.1 km² (0.25%) is water.
  • Gaylord experiences heavy lake effect snow during the winter and is in the middle of the Northern Michigan snowbelt.
  • Highway signs denote that Gaylord rests on the 45th Parallel Line -- halfway between the equator and the North Pole. This is one of 26 places in the U.S.A. where such signs are known to exist.
  • It is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.
  • Hartwick Pines State Park is just 28 miles (44km) to the south, and is one of the last remaining stands of old growth virgin Eastern white pine forest.
  • The Huron-Manistee National Forests is nearby.
  • Gaylord Regional Airport is located at 1100 Aero Drive, Gaylord, MI 49735. (989) 732-4218 Phone. It is owned and operated by the County of Otsego. The Airport is licensed by the Michigan Aeronautics Commission as a General Utility Airport. It is listed as a tier one airport in all categories of the Michigan Airport System Plan.

Major highways

I-75 passes to the west of the city and connects with the Mackinac Bridge to the north and Saginaw and Detroit to the south
I-75 Business Loop or BL I-75 is a loop route running through Gaylord. It follows the former route of US-27, in part, and was commissioned in 1986. The highway returns to I-75.
M-32 passes east-west through the city. Although it is not a true 'cross-peninsular' highway—crosses the lower peninsula from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron—it is close.
C-42 terminates at M-32 west of the city. It originates at US-131 in Alba.
F-42 begins at BL I-75 (Old US-27) south of the city and proceeds easterly to M-32 southeast of Gaylord.
F-44 begins at M-32 east of the city and continues easterly through Sparr to F-01.
Old US-27 The former route of US-27 is a major north-south local route through the city and the rest of Otsego County.

Elected officials

City of Gaylord offices are at 225 W. Main Street, Gaylord, MI 49735 (989) 732-4060

  • City Manager: Joe Duff
  • Mayor: Gladys Solokis
  • City Council: Todd Sharrard; Joe Wambold; William Tholl; Jerry Campbell; Steve Johnson; Patrick Mankowski; Esther Nelson


As of the census of 2000, there were 3,681 people, 1,584 households, and 888 families residing in the city. The population density was 932.8 per square mile (359.8/km²). There were 1,773 housing units at an average density of 449.3/sq mi (173.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.50% White, 0.30% African American, 0.95% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.71% of the population.

There were 1,584 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.9% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.22 and the average family size was 2.97.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.9% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 79.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,770, and the median income for a family was $36,654. Males had a median income of $33,264 versus $19,815 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,313. About 8.8% of families and 9.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.8% of those under age 18 and 13.6% of those age 65 or over.


  • Cross country skiing is an important tourist activity near Gaylord. It is blessed with two of the top-rated cross country venues in Michigan, namely Hartwick Pines State Park Trails and Mason Tract Pathway. Forbush corners in nearby Frederic, Michigan is a world-recognized center for education and training in cross country skiing, and benefits from early and late snow due to a 'snow belt micro climate.' Accomplished amateur ski racer David Forbush designed, maintains, and grooms "one of the finest privately owned systems in the Midwest.
  • Fishing in the local lakes and rivers is abundant. Gaylord offers fly fishing and angling on the edge of some world class streams, rivers and lakes. Particularly notable are two nearby rivers which parallel each other: the Au Sable River which runs East to Lake Huron and the Manistee River which runs West to Lake Michigan. Trout are driven to a feeding frenzy by prolific and multiple insect hatches.
  • As is true in the rest of Michigan, White tail deer hunting is locally considered to be a 'sacrament' and the firearms deer opener (November 15) its 'holy day of obligation.' With a large percentage of Otsego County owned by federal and state government, and open to the public, it is a hunter's dream. Various terrain types yield trophy bucks, and other fauna, from squirrels to waterfowl. Gaylord is a sportmen's paradise.
  • Snow shoeing and snow mobile riding are activities that fit right in to the local weather and topography.
  • Because it is in the snow belt due to the lake effect snow and has prodigious snowfall, nearby ski resorts are active.
  • Additionally, snowmobile riding is a popular activity.
  • Birding is a popular activity. In particular, the city is in the middle of Kirtland's Warbler habitat.

Famous people from Gaylord

Recurrent local events

There are a number of local events. A calendar is available. They include:

  • Gaylord Air Fair - third weekend in June.
  • Gaylord Alpenfest - third weekend in July. Burning of the Boogg!, Parade on Saturday, car show, carnival rides.
  • Farmfest - second weekend in August.


  • The Gaylord Herald Times serves the area.

WMJZ, "Eagle" 101.5 FM, features an adult hits format and is the primary local (Gaylord/Otsego County-focused) commercial radio station. Also licensed to Gaylord are WBLW 88.1 FM and WPHN 90.5 FM (Northern Christian Radio), which both feature non-commercial Christian religious programming, and WSRT 106.7 FM, an adult contemporary music station (formerly WKPK "The Peak," a locally legendary top 40 station) which, although licensed to Gaylord, is based in Traverse City.

Gaylord is also served by radio and TV broadcasts from Traverse City, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Cadillac, Grayling, Houghton Lake, Cheboygan, and Alpena.


External links

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