About Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant, the county seat of Isabella County which also includes the communities of Shepherd, Rosebush, Blanchard, Winn, and Lake Isabella was established in 1831.  The population of Isabella County is roughly 68,000 with Mt. Pleasant, the biggest city at a population of 27,000.  Top employers include Central Michigan University, Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort, McClaren Central Michigan, Bandit Industries, Morbark, and Delfield.  Over the years, the Mt. Pleasant area has experienced several changes that have come to make it the great community that it is today.

The Treaty of 1855 relocated the Native American Ojibwa (Saginaw Chippewa Tribe) from Saginaw, Swan Creek, and Black River to land in Isabella County (Isabella Indian Reservation).  Today, Mt. Pleasant is home to the popular Soaring Eagle Casino, Ziibiwing Cultural Center, and many other American Indian cultural aspects.  With celebrations like the Annual Saginaw Chippewa Pow Wow the area continues to celebrate the rich history and culture of the American Indian.

When settlers first arrived they utilized the Chippewa River and started logging.  Today the Chippewa River is a must do experience while here in the warmer months.  Canoeing, tubing, and kayaking are a favorite past time of many residents, students, and visitors.

In 1890, W.A. Jordan started Mt. Pleasant Business College. Expanding in 1892, the school changed its name to Central Michigan Normal School and Business Institute, the beginnings of what is now Central Michigan University.  Today CMU, which is the fourth largest public university in Michigan, has more than 20,000 students on campus and operates learning centers in more than 50 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

In 1928, large amounts of oil were discovered and lead to an oil boom in Isabella County.  A farm owned by the Lilly family was the first to strike, producing hundreds of barrels a day. Although oil resources would eventually diminish, their legacy is apparent in the Mt. Pleasant city seal, which bears an image of an oil drill.  Mt. Pleasant High School’s mascot, the Oiler, is also a reference to the city’s long history with oil.

Isabella County features over 1,000 farms averaging 193 acres in size. Farms range from dairy farms and livestock farms,  to vegetables and organic farms. There are also several U-Pick farms such as Moodie’s Blueberries, Rhynards Blueberry Farm, and Harold Howard Strawberry Farm. The area is also home to the Maple Syrup Festival, which in 2009 produced a record breaking 2,120 gallons of syrup. Since 1958 the festival is celebrated during the last weekend of April with music, arts, crafts, all-you-can-eat pancakes and a parade. Being the sweet center of Michigan is something that makes the Mt. Pleasant area unique.  Isabella County has small town charm with a large number of small rural farms yet just down the road you can find big city amenities such as the Soaring Eagle Casino and CMU.

Fun Facts

  • There are more than 15 local parks, which provide an abundance of opportunities for picnicking, swimming, biking, hiking, sledding, cross country skiing, and more.
  • Golf enthusiasts can enjoy a dozen local courses within a 30-minute drive of the city
  • Home of the first person to canoe all the great lakes
  • Mt. Pleasant’s Native American heritage and rich history, together with the splendor of the area’s natural attractions, give visitors a wide variety of things to see and enjoy.
  • Mt. Pleasant was the site of a major oil strike in the late 1920s which significantly changed the face of the city.
  • Famous residents of Mt. Pleasant include: John Engler Former Michigan Governor, Dan Pohl Pro golfer, Kelly Robbins Pro golfer, Dan Schafer Professional Musician/Songwriter