The village of Gladwin in Gladwin County was platted as “Cedar” in 1875, named after its location on the Cedar River. Even though the residents loved the name, unfortunately there was already another 'Cedar' in Michigan. When the town got its own post office in September 1875, it simply named itself after the county.

The county was named in 1831 after Major Henry Gladwin, who became a victor in the 1763-1764 wars with Chief Pontiac. Gladwin became an official village in 1885 and incorporated as a city in 1893.

Gladwin began building its economy in the 1870s with the lumber trade. With its success came more settlers and businesses. The first church was Methodist, finished in March 1878; the first schoolhouse in the fall of 1878, replaced with a new one in 1883.

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Gladwin is another nice Michigan small town, but there are those who believe there is something paranormal going on. I have no opinion on that, as I have not had any firsthand experience. But others claim there are strange things happening around Gladwin. You can read about them here.

One of my friends had some strange things – not necessarily paranormal - happen to him when he visited way back in the late 1970s. I'll let him tell you what happened:

“In late September, we checked into a hotel about 10pm. I took a shower about 11:30pm and soon (she) came screaming into the bathroom that someone was trying to break in. I heard a big bang on the door and put my jeans on. I looked out the window, opened the door and went out but no one was there. We were the only ones staying there and our car was the only one in the lot. When we went back into the room, we heard a glass window shatter in the bathroom. There was glass all over the floor. We got dressed and went to the office but it was empty and no one was around. Went back to the car and our hotel room door was wide open. I crept in and grabbed our bag and we drove away. We saw the police station when we were trying to get back on the freeway so we was empty and nobody was there either. Got back on the road until we saw a truck stop/restaurant and stopped to eat. About 14 customers ALL stopped talking and stared at went deathly silent. We ran back to the car and didn't stop until we were back at my apartment in Lansing. Fell asleep in our clothing only to hear a loud knocking and banging on the door! Scared the crap out of us so I slowly walked to the banging door and looked out - it was my parents who were on their way to the casino in Mt Pleasant. They were yelling because they had to come in and pee.”

The gallery below features many vintage photos of Gladwin, along with a good handful of “then-and-now” comparisons.

The Small Town of Gladwin: 1900-1950s


The Small Town of Argentine, Genesee County

The Small Town of Muir: 1873-2020s

The Small Town of Sunfield: 1900-1920s

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