The West Town Historic District
Location of Owosso, Michigan
|• Mayor||Christopher T. Eveleth|
|• City Manager||Nathan Henne|
|• Total||5.39 sq mi (13.96 km2)|
|• Land||5.25 sq mi (13.59 km2)|
|• Water||0.14 sq mi (0.37 km2)|
|Elevation||728 ft (222 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||2,770.39/sq mi (1,069.59/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0634254|
Owosso is a city in Shiawassee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 15,194 at the 2010 census. The city is located on the eastern side of Owosso Township, but is politically independent. The city was named after Chief Wasso, an Ojibwa leader of the Shiawassee area.. Owosso is the largest city in Shiawassee County.
Alfred L. and Benjamin O. Williams were early European-American settlers in the area. They drew Elias Comstock, who built the first permanent home in the settlement. Owosso was incorporated as a city in 1859, at which time it had 1000 people. It had never had a period as a village. The city's first mayor was Amos Gould, a judge originally from New York. Many other settlers also had migrated across the Northern Tier from New York and New England. In 1876, the city organized its fire department.
The pattern of settlement and migration resulted in a majority-white city. In the 1950s, Owosso was reported by a major Montgomery, Alabama newspaper to be a sundown town, where African Americans were not allowed to live or stay overnight. It was reacting to increased civil rights activism and Northern criticism of Southern racial segregation, following the United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954) that segregated public schools were unconstitutional.
Owosso experiences frigid winters, with the last snow usually falling in April, typically Northern Midwestern spring thaws, balmy to hot summers, and colorful falls, with the first snows usually occurring in October. Each year Owosso averages eleven days with temperatures below 0 °F (−18 °C), and nine days with temperatures above 90 °F (32 °C). Owosso averages twenty-nine inches of rain per year, and forty-one inches of snow. The average growing season in Owosso is 144 days.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,713 people, 6,340 households, and 4,076 families. The population density was 3,174.5 per square mile (1,225.6/km²). There were 6,724 housing units at an average density of 1,358.4 per square mile (524.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97% White, 0.20% African American, 0.60% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.80% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3% of the population.
There were 6,340 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.0% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.7% were non-families. 29.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the city, the population was spread out with 27.3% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 29.4% from 25 to 44, 19.9% from 45 to 64, and 13.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 89.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.0 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,576, and the median income for a family was $40,355. Males had a median income of $32,285 versus $22,534 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,764. About 10.0% of families and 13.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.8% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2010, there were 15,194 people, 6,161 households, and 3,779 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,905.2 inhabitants per square mile (1,121.7/km2). There were 6,823 housing units at an average density of 1,304.6 per square mile (503.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 95.7% White, 0.8% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.9% of the population.
There were 6,161 households of which 33.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.0% were married couples living together, 16.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 38.7% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.00.
The median age in the city was 34.8 years. 25.2% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.5% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.9% were from 25 to 44; 24.7% were from 45 to 64; and 12.8% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.4% male and 51.6% female.
Arts and culture
- Curwood Castle was the writing studio of notable author James Oliver Curwood. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The castle is operated as a museum that contains period antiques, and Curwood books, photos, and movie posters, as well as memorabilia related to politician Thomas E. Dewey, another notable native son.
- The Shiawasse Arts Center exhibits and sells prints of Frederick Carl Frieseke, and original work of other artists. It also holds art classes, and competitions, and has exhibitions scheduled throughout the year.
- The Steam Railroading Institute
- Owosso Speedway
- The Curwood Festival, to honor the author and books, is held annually and includes a street fair, parades, contests including raft races, carnival rides, concerts, a medieval reenactment encampment, and more.
- M-21 runs east and west through the city
- M-52 runs north and south through the city
- M-71 runs diagonally, southeast and northwest, terminating at M-21
City Bus Service
The Shiawassee Area Transportation Agency (SATA) provides city bus service. The majority of buses are lift-equipped, and the service operates from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays. The service also provides a single daily bus run to and from Perry, Michigan, and another to and from Durand, Michigan.
Intercity Bus Service
Owosso is the headquarters of Indian Trails Bus Lines, which provides regularly scheduled intercity bus service from Owosso to connect with points throughout Michigan and the U. S. Indian Trails also provides chartered bus service to and from points throughout the U. S.
Owosso Community Airport provides a 4,300-foot (1,300 m) long lighted runway for private planes and air taxi services.
Owosso is the headquarters of the Great Lakes Central Railroad, which provides freight service to Northern and Southern Michigan. It also provides chartered passenger rail service and tours through its association with Lake Central Rail Tours.
- Emile Benoit (Jerry Urick), author, playwright of A Midsummer Night's Hangover.
- Alvin M. Bentley, philanthropist, foreign service officer and U.S. Congressman
- Chester Brewer, athlete, Michigan State and Missouri football head coach and athletic director
- Diane Carey, author
- James Oliver Curwood, conservationist and author
- Thomas E. Dewey, lawyer, author, and politician, Governor of New York, 1944 and 1948 Republican presidential candidate
- Robert L. Gibson, actor
- Sanford M. Green, Michigan jurist and legislator
- Alfred D. Hershey, bacteriologist and co-winner of the 1969 Nobel Prize in medicine/physiology
- Bobbi McCaughey, Iowa mother who gave birth to septuplets
- Mel Schacher, member of the rock bands ? and the Mysterians and Grand Funk Railroad
- Cora Taylor, co-founder of Owosso’s Indian Trails Bus Line
- C. Warren Thornthwaite, Professor of Climatology at Johns Hopkins University
- John Tomac, bicycle racer and builder
- Brad Van Pelt, football player, Michigan State and 14-year NFL career, 5-time Pro Bowl selection
- Bradlee Van Pelt, football player
- Lloyd R. Welch, Professor Emeritus at the University of Southern California
- Michael Gute, artist
- McArthur Mining Company – Michigan's first coal mine.
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|title=(help) Reprinted in "The South Is Fair Game Up North". Montgomery Advertiser. Montgomery, Alabama. July 20, 1956. p. 4 – via Newspapers.com.
The Advertiser has delighted in finding Northern Cities where Negroes are not allowed to live or even to stay overnight, among them Owosso, Mich., birthplace of Thomas Dewey.
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