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History: Gaylord has found its niche as a destination by embracing the charming characteristics of an Alpine Village. The widespread adoption of the chalet-style architecture was first proposed after the development of the famed Otsego Ski Club on the east side of town in the 1930’s.
Community leaders then adopted the theme throughout town, believing that Gaylord could capitalize on its snowbelt-centered location and distinguish itself architecturally from other vacation destination communities in Northern Michigan. The downtown area and businesses continue to embrace the Alpine theme. Gaylord is now synonymous with the phrase “Alpine Village,” and the annual Alpenfest celebrates the Swiss heritage that’s shared with its sister city in Pontresina, Switzerland.
Gaylord & Otsego County
First named Okkaddo when it was set off in 1840, this county was renamed Otsego in 1843 after a New York county and lake of that name. It is said to mean “clear water.” Settlement did not begin until the late 1860’s when lumbering was started.
Otsego Lake, the first village, was founded in 1872 and became county seat in 1875 when the county was organized. Settled in the year 1874 by the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw Railroad, the new community was named for Augustine Smith Gaylord, an attorney for the railroad and named county seat in 1877. Farming and the tourist industry are now the chief businesses. More Otsego County History
Driving Tour of Otsego County
Drinking Fountain at Irontone Springs!
The first white settlers moved into the county in 1868 for the purpose of lumbering. White Pine and hardwoods lured people into the area. Farming also has been important to Otsego County, potatoes being one of the leading crops.
You'll take pleasure in a drive around Otsego County to visit some of our historic sights. Pack a picnic to enjoy at Irontone Spring located just a few miles north of Gaylord on US 27 North. The park is named for the iron in the spring water which gives the rocks a rust red color. Click Here for information on a historical driving tour of Otsego County!