Gogebic County (/ɡoʊˈɡɪ.bɪk/ go-gi-bik) is thewesternmost county in the Upper peninsula in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,427.[2] Thecounty seat is Bessemer.[3]

The county was set off and organized in 1867. It had been part of Ontonagon County. The name is said to be derived from theOjibwe word "bic" which most references interpret as "rock."[4] Alternatively, it is claimed to be derived from Lake Agogebic, later changed to Lake Gogebic.[1] See List of Michigan county name etymologies.

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Geography Edit

According to the 2010 census, the county has a total area of 1,476.35 square miles (3,823.7 km2), of which 1,101.85 square miles (2,853.8 km2) (or 74.63%) is land and 374.50 square miles (970.0 km2) (or 25.37%) is water.[5]

Geographic features Edit

Lake Gogebic, the largest lake of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, lies partially in Gogebic County.

  • Lake Superior
  • Lake Gogebic is the largest lake in theUpper Peninsula.
  • Montreal River is on the western edge of the county on the Wisconsin border

Transportation Edit

Highways Edit

  • US 2

  •  BUS US 2 serves the city of Ironwood.
  • US 45
  • M‑28
  • M‑64
  • CR 513 (Black River National Forest Scenic Byway)

Air service Edit

  • Commercial air service is available atGogebic-Iron County Airport (IWD) north of Ironwood.

Adjacent counties Edit

  • Ontonagon County (north)
  • Iron County (east)
  • Vilas County, Wisconsin (south)
  • Iron County, Wisconsin (southwest)
  • Ashland County, Wisconsin (northwest)

National protected area Edit

  • Ottawa National Forest (part)

State protected area Edit

  • Lake Gogebic State Park

DemographicsEdit Edit

Historical population
1890 13,166
1900 16,738 27.1%
1910 23,333 39.4%
1920 33,225 42.4%
1930 31,577 −5.0%
1940 31,797 0.7%
1950 27,053 −14.9%
1960 24,370 −9.9%
1970 20,676 −15.2%
1980 19,686 −4.8%
1990 18,052 −8.3%
2000 17,370 −3.8%
2010 16,427 −5.4%
Est. 2012 16,084 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
2012 Estimate[7]

The 2010 United States Census[8] indicates Gogebic County had a population of 16,427. This is a decrease of 943 people from the2000 United States Census. This is a -5.4% change in population. In 2010 there were 7,037 households and 4,171 families residing in the county. The population density was 15 people per square mile (6/km²). There were 10,795 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). 91.7% of the population were White, 4.1% Black or African American, 2.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.2% of some other race and 1.4% of two or more races. 0.9% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). 17.4% were of Finnish, 12.8%German, 11.2% American, 10.0% Italian, 6.8%Polish, 6.7% English and 5.1% Irishancestry.[9]

There were 7,037 households out of which 20.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.7% were non-families. 35.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.69.

In the county the population was spread out with 16.9% under the age of 18, 8.4% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 21.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46.8 years. 53.3% of the population was male, and 46.7% of the population was female.

The median income for a household in the county was $34,917, and the median income for a family was $47,219. The per capita income for the county was $20,759. About 14.0% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.6% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

GovernmentEdit Edit

The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, maintains vital records and property records, administers public healthregulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissionerscontrols the budget but has limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions — police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. — are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Gogebic County Courthouse circa 1920.

Cities, villages, and townshipsEdit Edit

Cities Edit

  • Bessemer
  • Ironwood
  • Wakefield

Townships Edit

  • Calumet
  • Bessemer
  • Erwin
  • Ironwood
  • Marenisco
  • Wakefield
  • Watersmeet

Unincorporated communities Edit

  • Connorville
  • Marenisco
  • Ramsay
  • Thomaston
  • Watersmeet

See alsoEdit Edit

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Gogebic County, Michigan
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Gogebic County Seal.