Monday, May 5, 2014

Questions and Answers About Chatham, Michigan

Welcome to the Chatham, MI general information page.  This page will detail some basic information about Chatham, where it's located, how many businesses are located here and the kinds they are, as well as interesting facts about the area and its land.  This will be more or less a facts and information page about Chatham, but the information will be generalized.  This is in hopes that people who are unfamiliar with our small town, will pick up on a few details, just in case they may happen to pass through our small town to another destination.  Enjoy!
Where is Chatham, MI located? Chatham is located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, in west-central Alger County.  Chatham is not too far from some of the U.P.'s biggest cities, including Marquette (30 miles), Munising (20 miles), and Escanaba (45 miles).  Chatham is located along Michigan Highway M-94, a highway that begins near K.I. Sawyer in Marquette County, and ends in Manistique.  You can also arrive in Chatham via numerous county roads and highways.  A few other neighboring communities around Chatham include Eben, Trenary, Traunik, Limestone, Kiva, and Forest Lake.

What is the population of Chatham, MI? Chatham doesn't have a large population, in fact, it is quite small.  During the last census conducted in 2010, Chatham's population was measured at 220.  In fact, Chatham's population has been in decline for about 20 years, as the population in general grows older and people move away or pass on.  Many of the couples that once had children in the household now find themselves alone and their children moved away.

When did Chatham begin, and why the location? One of the major reasons why Chatham and Rock River Township were formed was because of the rich virgin forests that covered the lands.  People came from far and wide for the rich timber that surrounded the area and lumber companies soon sprang up to harvest the wood.  Railroads soon connected one town from the next and the lumber was transported across the country.  The big demand for awhile was cedar for telegraph and telephone poles but that soon migrated to hardwoods which could be burned in charcoal plants.  The first settler arrived in Chatham in 1896, which was also the year that the Munising Railway Company first brought rail service to town.  And that's how Chatham came to be.

What are some important businesses in Chatham, and what are they about? There are a variety of small businesses in Chatham, and even some are ran from people's homes.  Most of them thrive on tourists that come into the area but that is not always the case.  Many of them also rely on the town's residents and community members from surrounding towns to visit and buy merchandise.  The largest and probably the business that thrives the most is the Chatham Co-op.  It's the local grocery/hardware store.  If a person is in a fix and needs a particular product as soon as possible, then the co-op is the place to go.  A few of the other "major" businesses include the Village Pub and the Village Inn Motel.  Overall, there are roughly 15 businesses in the Chatham community.

What kind of town is Chatham? Chatham is a small town but it does have the capacity to grow even bigger, if need be.  Chatham is designated a village; a village that has its own water system, complete with a water tower and village sewer systems.  Chatham also conducts its own village council meetings and holds council elections to elect new members to the council.  Various areas of the village are also zoned as commercial and residential properties.  Since Chatham is designated a village, state funding is important when compiling a yearly budget and any projects the village may want to complete within a year.  Chatham also receives funding from the state for its road system and its plowing services.  Chatham has it's own plow to take care of village streets during winter storms.  State funding may be an important part of Chatham's budget but the village doesn't get as much compared to larger communities like Munising or Marquette.  And considering Chatham's slide in population, Chatham probably gets a considerable less than they did years ago.

Are there job opportunities in Chatham?  Unfortunately, job opportunities within Chatham are very slim.  Many area residents commute to the bigger communities around Chatham to find work.  The businesses that make up the Chatham community do look for people to work at their respective businesses from time to time, so inquire if interested.  Otherwise, visit Michigan Works On-line if you are looking for a sustainable job with benefits in and around the Chatham community.

What are some major events that take place in Chatham? Chatham is a quiet, bedroom community to the bigger town of Munising in Alger County and is in relatively short distance away from the largest city in the U.P., Marquette.  Yes, there are not a lot of things to do in Chatham, yet, we do have a few community events that help to draw in people from other areas of the county and the peninsula.  During the winter months, winter recreation activities such as dog sledding, skiing, tobogganing and snowmobiling draw people into the area from around the U.P. and Midwest.  Chatham easily picks up 200 inches of snow during most winters, if not more, thanks to the close proximity of Lake Superior.  The snowmobile trails are usually packed with sledders when there is sufficient snow, adding income to area businesses.  The major event for the Chatham community is held during the summer months which is the Alger County Fair and Chatham Homecoming Celebration.  This event draws thousands to the area.  People from all across the country converge on Chatham to celebrate the community's existence.  The weekend of events is more like a reunion celebration, since it helps to draw in former community members and school alumni who used to live in the area.  The Alger County Fair and Chatham Homecoming is usually held the first weekend of August.

What are some other things to do in Chatham? One of the great things about Chatham is getting to know the people that live in here.  Just like in other small towns, Chatham is a place where everybody knows everyone.  So, one thing that can keep a person occupied in Chatham is getting to know members of the community.  To make your presence known in the village, go on a walk through the main street of Chatham and stop by the Chatham Co-op and go shopping.  It's a major community gathering post, along with the post office, and you'll get to meet people there.  Chatham is also lucky enough to have its own ski hill.  It's not a large ski hill like some of the others you see in Upper Michigan.  One of the best ways to beat the long winters is to go skiing at the Chatham Ski Hill, located about 2 miles Northeast of Chatham near the Cemetery.  There are also cross country ski trails available to use at the site as well.  But mostly, the area's scenic nature really helps to pass the time.  Visit the area waterfalls, take a Sunday drive through the variety of side roads, or take a nice hiking adventure through the thick Hiawatha National Forest.  Discover some of the area's lakes and rivers, go on a picnic to some of the parks and play baseball at the ball diamond.  Be creative and enjoy the scenery that the Chatham area has to offer.

What if I'm interested in buying property in and around Chatham?  If you are interesting in buying a home or property in the Chatham village limits or in one of the surrounding communities, please be sure and check out a few of the following realtors:  Big C RealtyCentury 21Select RealtyStatewide Realty, or Re-Max.  You should be able to find something of your liking.  If not, be sure and call one of the realtors listed for property that may not be listed on-line.  Good luck!

Why the website about Chatham, MI? This is a very interesting question.  One of the reasons why I created this site was to get people to know more about where I grew up.  There are other great Upper Michigan city web sites out there and I felt like Chatham was missing out on being on the internet.  Chatham has such a deep history and despite the recent decline, there is much hope in the future for continued growth and prosperity.  Getting people to know about Chatham and the great lifestyle the area offers may help to attract new people to the area.  There is an ample amount of property available to purchase in and around the Chatham area and we welcome anyone who may be interested in moving here.  The village has the infrastructure to accommodate a moderate growth and by making Chatham's presence known on the web, I think it has the ability to help attract new people to the area.  Chatham deserves a chance to be known and even though it isn't the biggest city in the world, it does have some city-like characteristics to be proud of.  

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