The town of Oakley sits in Saginaw County, about fourteen miles northeast of Elsie. Driving thru the town, it retains some of the old downtown structures, making this little side trip more enjoyable.

The town's first rumblings occurred around 1842 when a saloon was opened by Philip Mickle; when a post office was implemented and began operating, the community was given the name ‘Mickleville’, thanks to Mr. Mickle being the first postmaster.

In 1860, the post office changed names to ‘Havana’ and was moved two miles southeast to the hamlet which was immediately named ‘Havana’. In 1968, the post office was moved again; this time back to Mickleville, with a name change to ‘Oakley’. The town was named after Judge Oakley of New York, who was an uncle of one of the local businessmen. That same year, it was platted and became an entry on the town records by Andrew Huggins.

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By the 1880s, Oakley had grown to a population of 350 and had a good little number of establishments: two drug stores, three dry goods stores, a factory with forty employees, two grocery stores, two hardware stores, and a school.

In 1947, Jim Devereaux and his two brothers partnered up and started their own company, Oakley Hardwoods. After almost twenty years of success, in 1966 Jim decided to open his own place: Devereaux Sawmill, which he opened in Pewamo. In 1978, Jim turned operations over to his son. Devereaux Sawmill, Inc. continues to serve Michigan and has become one of the largest manufacturers of Michigan Hardwoods.

Although the town of Oakley had 350 residents in the 1880s, Oakley’s peak year was 1990, when the population had slowly risen to 359.

Check out some vintage photos of Oakley in the gallery below, going back over one hundred years...

Vintage Photos of Oakley in Saginaw County

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