See study by R. J. Werblowsky (1962).
Caro is a village in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 4,145 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Tuscola County. Caro is located northeast of Flint and east of Saginaw in The Thumb region of Michigan. Caro is the largest community in The Thumb's tri-county region, based on both population and geographical size; it is an industrial and commercial center for the region as well.
Native People, the Chippewa and Ottawa, knew Caro both as the Indianfields and High Bank. The early English names for it were Podunk, Centerville, and Caro. Early on, Indianfields, or High Bank, was an Indian garden filled with a large stock of potates, corn, and squash. The area around Caro has always been known for its cultivated fields. William Sherman, a shantyboy who worked in the local lumber woods, advertised the area to his father, Samuel, who settled here in 1852. In 1859 the town's first store and second hotel was built by William Sherman and called the Centerville House because the building and community, which was growing, were at the center of Tuscola County. A state road was being installed in front of the hotel during this time connecting Watrousville to the west with Podunk. The community was soon named Centerville after the store and hotel. In 1868 the name Cairo was coined, also, by William Sherman for the small hamlet, which was shortened to Caro. Another town in Michigan was also using the name Centerville and kept that name. William Sherman was a student of Egyptian history. Caro, Michigan, soon, became the county seat of Tuscola County. Latin "cola" means a farm colony. The word is related to "colline" meaning a small hill. The Egyptian city Cairo was named for Mars, or Aries, the God of War and Agriculture. The name Cairo is connected with a quay or high bank near a river, and indeed Caro, Michigan, lies along the high bank of Michigan's Cass River.
There were 1,738 households out of which 29.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.6% were married couples living together, 13.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.0% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the village the population was spread out with 24.7% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 26.3% from 25 to 44, 22.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 82.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 78.8 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $31,226, and the median income for a family was $39,432. Males had a median income of $36,307 versus $25,833 for females. The per capita income for the village was $17,152. About 5.1% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 7.0% of those age 65 or over.
Although Caro residents have long believed Caro to be the most populous village in the state of Michigan, the 2000 Census ranks it the 7th most populous. Although, Caro is ranked as the largest village county seat in Michigan.
According to the US Census, the 48723 zip code has 12,794 people residing within its bounderies. Therefore, Caro was recently named a Small Urban Cluster by the US Census due to Caro's village population, its immediate and surrounding population, and due to the fact Caro has an increasing amount of traffic and urbanization occurring.
The festivities begin each year with the annual Lip-Sync contest and various sports tournaments that have included 3-on-3 basketball, walleyball, tennis, and golf. The festival culminates with the Grand Parade. In 2003, nearly 200 units participated in the parade, including 14 marching bands from across the state of Michigan, local merchants, churches, other organizations and Miss Michigan.
In late summer, Caro also hosts the Cars and Crafts Weekend. State Street, the main road through town, is closed between Frank Street and the courthouse building. Local artisans sell handcrafted goods and many merchants sport sidewalk sales. Additionally, residents show-off historic automobiles.
In late July/early August, Caro hosts the Tuscola County Fair at the county fairgrounds. The fair has been a county tradition for over 100 years and includes games and rides, awards for skilled crafts and animal rearing, and grandstand events. Grandstand events include the tractor pull, harness racing, a rodeo, and a demolition derby.
Recently, Michigan Ethanol, a partner of Broin Companies, opened a corn ethanol production facility in southwest Caro.
The Caro Center, a mental health facility operated by the State of Michigan, originally opened as a support center for individuals with epilepsy and operated as a self-supportive community, producing its own vegetables and maintaing live stock. Following, it converted to an institution for the developmentally disabled, then a home for the mentally impaired, and now operates as a facility for forensic patients.
On November 12, 2001, 17-year old Chris Buschbacher, armed with a .22-caliber rifle and a 20-gauge shotgun, took one teacher and one student hostage at the Caro Learning Center before killing himself.
In August 2006, three men were arrested in Caro after 1,000 cell phones were found in their van. A Wal-Mart employee grew suspicious when the three men of Arab descent purchased 80 prepaid cell phones. Also found in the van was video and pictures of the Mackinac Bridge. And because of this, they were believed to be involved in a terrorist activity. When the case went to court, it was found that the men were innocent.
Terry Nichols had ties to the Thumb area. One of the co-founders of his brother's defense funds was from Caro. (Gillman, 1995)
On July 23, 2007 Governor Jennifer Granholm announced Caro as a community chosen by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to take part in the Blueprints for Downtowns program. Caro will receive a comprehensive, market-driven strategy toward developing an action-oriented downtown that will result in economic growth, job creation and private investments. The Blueprints for Downtowns award were also received by the communities of Clio and Ypsilanti. Scottville received a similar award to take part in the Cool Cities Michigan Main Street program.