CLARE, Mich. (Michigan Back Roads) – Clare, Michigan was named after Clare County, Ireland. That Irish heritage is evident and celebrated each day.

Clare grew up along the Flint & Pere Marquette Railway. That railway bed is now a scenic trail as part of the Rails to Trails program. The Depot that served the passengers is now a museum/office and is fully refurbished. Clare, Michigan and Clare County have always been known as the place where the north begins.  The downtown area has retained its hometown charm with historic architecture, unusual shops and plenty of parking.  One can enjoy a relaxing day discovering the unique character of places like The Herrick House or the rightly famous Cops & Donuts.

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Nature lovers and sportsmen find everything they could ask for in Clare County.  Camping is available within a few blocks of downtown Clare in Pettit Park on the Tobacco River. The Pere Marquette Rail Trail runs from here to Midland.  It is great for cycling.

The arts are alive in town and there are a number of events that celebrate those contributions.  Seeing some of the smaller towns around the area will reward the traveler.  Farwell has a historical museum and Harrison is known for its lakes.  All around are skiing, golf, fishing, hiking and canoeing.

Clare County Landmark Tour

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Jonesville – Jonesville Rd. half mile north of Muskegon Road is known for the railroad bridge. This site was a railway roll-off for timber into the Muskegon River.

Meredith – M-18 in Franklin Township. This site became a town in the 1880’s due to the intersecting railways.

Surrey House – 125 E. Beech, Harrison. The original name was the ‘Ohio Tavern” in 1879.

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Spike Horn Ruins – Corner of E. M-61 & Bus 27. Harrison “Spikehorn” Meyers, renowned for bringing live bears to Michigan’s capital when lobbying the State Senate, raised bears at this site. This was a regular stop for those heading “Up North” on Old 27.

Campbell City – 101 S. Main St., Temple. This was an early logging area.

Gerrish Railroad – Roadside Park on US-127 south of Mannsiding Rd. between Clare and Harrison. This railroad is named for Scott Gerrish and this site commemorates the first successful railroad in Michigan.

Cornwell Ranch – Cornwell Ave. half mile south of Mannsiding Ave. in Arthur Township. This ranch had a major influence on the development of surrounding communities.

Depression Era Art – Doherty Hotel, Clare Painted by Jay McHugh in 1932. Works Progress Administration (WPA) Art – Clare Post Office and Clare Middle School. These murals were commissioned following the Great Depression and are federally protected works of art.

Dover Schoolhouse and Ott Log Cabin – Dover & Eberhart Rd. Just south of Dover Rd. and originally named Crawford Settlement.  It is now the home of the Clare County Historical Museum.