I have been through the village of Atlanta many times. It sits on M-32 between Gaylord and Alpena...and I can agree with the claim that it is “The Elk Capital of Michigan” as I have seen a whole herd of wild elk during one of my trips across M-32 – one winter, we came across a herd of over one hundred elk, just grazing in a field. We took a photo which is included in the gallery below. This is a sight that I am fully aware I may never ever see again.

Atlanta is in Montmorency County, Briley Township, along the Thunder Bay River. It was founded by a lumberman, Alfred West, who came here from Capac in 1881. It was Alfred who gave the town its name, after the city of the same name in Georgia. Alfred was a Civil War veteran and seemed to recall certain events in Georgia (good or bad?) that inspired him to give this Michigan village its name.

In 1882, a post office was established and Alfred became its first postmaster. The village did become incorporated for a while but is now under township government and is the county seat.

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In 1996, Legislature officially gave Atlanta the title of  “The Elk Capital of Michigan” due to its overwhelming number of wild elk – unlike elsewhere in Michigan.

Aside from my wild elk photo, I have included a few old images of Atlanta from over one hundred years ago. Also added are a couple of photos of a shoe tree that is just outside of town as you head west.

The Elk Capital of Michigan: Atlanta


Newberry, Moose Capital of Michigan

Belding: The Silk Capital of Michigan

Cedar Springs: The Red Flannel Underwear Capital

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