Geographical information

Iosco County




United States

Land area

0.9 sq. miles

Water area

0.1 sq. miles

Demographic information
Population (2000)


Population density

1102.2/sq. mile

Government structure
Community type

Census-designated place


None, part of Oscoda Charter Township

Other information
Time zone


ZIP Code(s)


Area code(s)


FIPS code


GNIS feature ID


Oscoda is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Iosco County, Michigan.[2] The community is a part of southeastern Oscoda Charter Township, in the northeastern portion of the county.[2] The community is located at the mouth of the Au Sable River, along the coast of Lake Huron. Oscoda, on the south bank of the river, lies opposite the census-designated place of Au Sable.[2] The population was 992 during the 2000 census.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the community has a total area of 0.9 square miles, of which 0.1 (~7.4%) is water. The community uses ZIP code 48750[4]—assigned to Oscoda[5]—and has the FIPS code 26-61320.[3]



In 1867, the organization Smith, Kelley and Dwight purchased land across the Au Sable River from the village of Au Sable. A village was thereafter platted on that site, and the post office was changed from Au Sable to Oscoda. The name Oscoda is believed to have been created by Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, deriving it from ossin and muscoda. Together, the words may mean "pebbly prairie." In 1885, Oscoda incorporated as a village and, as such, was administratively concurrent to Oscoda Township.[6]

Lumber was an important industry to the village and northeastern Iosco County. Outside of Oscoda lies the Lumberman's Monument, in honor of the lumberjacks that first populated the area. The State of Michigan had designated Oscoda as the official home of Paul Bunyan due to the earliest documented publications in the Oscoda Press, August 10, 1906, by James MacGillivray (later revised and published in the Detroit News in 1910).[7]

In 1911, a large forest fire decimated the village, nearly destroying everything. As a result, the village vacated its charter in 1919. The community of Oscoda became completely a part of Oscoda Township. Later the township would reorganize as a charter township.[6]

After the fireEdit

Wurtsmith Air Force Base (originally Camp Skeel) was located just outside the community from 1923 to 1993. Wurtsmith was the site of a Strategic Air Command nuclear-armed B-52 bomber squadron and an air refueling wing, consisting of a fleet of KC-135s. The 1990 census population was 1061, although 3,000 personnel were stationed at nearby Wurtsmith Air Force Base. Oscoda is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes. As of the 2000 census (several years after the closure of the air force base), the population was 992. The Charter Township of Oscoda created a Redevelopment Authority with the cooperation of the Michigan Legislature. The Wurtsmith Renaissance Zone was created in 1997, which exempted businesses and residents of the 5,000 acre (20 km²) zone from all state and most local taxes.

The Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport is now a public airport. It occupies a portion of the base and is primarily used for cargo and light general aviation activities.[8] Other tenants include the Aune Medical Center, Alcona Health Center Dental Clinic, Alpena Community College, Yankee Air Force Museum - Wurtsmith Division[9], and numerous private businesses. The former military housing units have been refurbished and now serve as a major population base in the Oscoda area.

Local events, performing arts and museumsEdit

There are many recurring events in Oscoda.[10] Also, Oscoda is near the Huron National Forest, which offers outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, swimming, cross-country skiing and fishing. The forest contains 330 miles of hiking trails.

  • Special events and fly-ins at the museum of the Wurtsmith Division of the Yankee Air Force at Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport.[11]
  • Gagaguwon (“ever running water”) PowWow is an Oscoda tradition. It celebrates the area's first inhabitants and is dedicated to preserving Native American arts, culture, and traditions. Authentic arts & crafts, food and traditional Native American dancing. It is held at Old Orchard Park, eight miles west of Oscoda.[12]
  • Shoreline Players Theater Group performs regularly.[13]
  • Northeast Dance and Movement Dance Studios have events.put on several visual arts performances each year.
  • Canoe and kayak races, fishing tournaments and golf tournaments are regular occurrences.
  • Annual Snowbox Derby, usually held in February.
  • The Oscoda Annual Home & Garden Show.
  • Family Fun Fair – a free event in late April at Oscoda High School with games, magic shows, face painting and more.
  • Wood Carvers Rally, held in May.
  • Art on the Beach held in June, more than 200 artisans display their talents and art on the shore of Lake Huron.
  • 4th of July Parade and Fireworks – free concerts, a parade through downtown and a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Weyerhauser Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, starts in Grayling, Michigan and 120 miles (193 kilometers) down the river ends in Oscoda. It is one of three marathon races that constitute canoe racing's Triple Crown. The race is always held the last full weekend in July. [14]
  • Iosco County Fair.[15]
  • Paul Bunyan Festival held in September – which has Concerts on the Beach, a Classic Car Show, Las Vegas Nights, Crafts Show, Children's Games, food, and a Chainsaw Carving Contest.
  • Christmas Parade and the Santa Clause's Arrival in early December.

Local attractionsEdit


  • The Oscoda Press is a weekly newspaper serving northern Iosco County and southern Alcona County[18]
  • WCMB 95.7 FM is owned by Central Michigan and offers a public radio format.

External linksEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

Iosco County
County seat: Tawas City — Founded: 1840 as Kanotin; Organized: 1857 — Population: 27,339 (2000)
East Tawas · Tawas City · Whittemore
Charter townships
Au Sable · Oscoda
Civil townships
Alabaster · Baldwin · Burleigh · Grant · Plainfield · Reno · Sherman · Tawas · Wilber
Census-designated places
Au Sable · Oscoda
Other communities
Alabaster · Hale · Long Lake · McIvor · National City · Sand Lake
Neighboring counties
Alcona County (north), Arenac County (southwest), Ogemaw County (west), Oscoda County (northwest)
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