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Ludington, Michigan

Ludington, Michigan
Mason County Courthouse
Mason County Courthouse
Location of Ludington, Michigan
Location of Ludington, Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Mason
 • Total 3.71 sq mi (9.61 km2)
 • Land 3.37 sq mi (8.73 km2)
 • Water 0.34 sq mi (0.88 km2)
Elevation 591 ft (180 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 8,076
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 8,045
 • Density 2,396.4/sq mi (925.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49431
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-49640
GNIS feature ID 0631201[4]
"The Clock Tower" Park.

Ludington is a city in the state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,076. It is the county seat of Mason County.[5]

Ludington is a harbor town located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Many people come to Ludington year round for recreation, including boating and swimming on Lake Michigan, Hamlin Lake, and other smaller inland lakes, as well as hunting, fishing, and camping. Nearby are Ludington State Park (which includes the Big Sable Point Light), Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, and Manistee National Forest. Ludington is also the home port of the SS Badger, with daily service in the summer across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Watching the Badger come into port in the evening from the end of the north breakwall by the Ludington lighthouse is a favorite local pastime. In summer, the city hosts quite a few large events. Examples are one of the largest Gus Macker basketball tournaments (with 35,500 spectators), the Ludington Area Jaycees Freedom Festival (July 4), the Lakestride Half Marathon in June, and the West Shore Art League's Art Fair. As a result of its many attractions (based on AAA's 2005 TripTik requests), Ludington has multiple golf and disc golf courses, Ludington is the fifth-most-popular tourist city in Michigan, behind Mackinaw City, Traverse City, Muskegon, and Sault Ste. Marie.[6]


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
  • Climate 3
  • Transportation 4
  • Demographics 5
    • 2010 census 5.1
    • 2000 census 5.2
  • Industry 6
  • Media 7
  • Retail 8
  • Education 9
  • Notable people 10
  • Gallery 11
  • See also 12
  • References 13
  • External links 14


In 1675, Jacques Marquette, French missionary and explorer, died and was laid to rest here. A memorial and large iron cross mark the location.

In 1845, courthouse. Restored in 1976 by the Mason County Historical Society, the structure stands today as a part of White Pine Village, a museum consisting of several restored and replica Mason County buildings (see external links).

The town was originally named Pere Marquette,[8] then later named after the industrialist James Ludington, whose logging operations the village built up around. Ludington was incorporated as a City in 1873, the same year that the County seat was moved from the Village of Lincoln to the City of Ludington.[7] The area boom in the late 19th century was due to these sawmills and also the discovery of salt deposits.

By 1892, 162 million board feet (382,000 m³) of lumber and 52 million wood shingles had been produced by the Ludington sawmills. With all of this commerce occurring, Ludington became a major Great Lakes shipping port.

In 1875, the Flint and Pere Marquette Railroad began cross lake shipping operations with the sidewheel steamer John Sherman. It became apparent quite early that the John Sherman was not large enough to handle the volume of freight and the F&PM Railroad contracted with the Goodrich Line of Steamers to handle the break bulk freight out of the Port of Ludington.

In 1897 the F&PM railroad constructed the first steel car ferry, the Pere Marquette. This was the beginning of the creation of a fleet of ferries to continue the rail cargo across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The fleet was also expanded to carry cars and passengers across the lake. By the mid-1950s, Ludington had become the largest car ferry port in the world. Unfortunately, due to disuse and declining industry, this fleet eventually dwindled. Currently only one carferry, the SS Badger, makes regular trips across the lake from Ludington, one of only two lake-crossing car ferries on Lake Michigan.

During the late 1910s and early 1920s, Ludington was the home of the Ludington Mariners minor league baseball team. A team of the same name currently plays "old time base ball" in historical reenactments of the original version of the game.



Climate data for Ludington
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 57
Average high °F (°C) 29
Average low °F (°C) 18
Record low °F (°C) −15
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.04
Source: Weather Channel,[9]



2010 census

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 8,076 people, 3,549 households, and 2,004 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,396.4 inhabitants per square mile (925.3/km2). There were 4,432 housing units at an average density of 1,315.1 per square mile (507.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.2% White, 1.1% African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 2.0% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.3% of the population.

There were 3,549 households of which 26.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.8% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.5% were non-families. 37.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.87.

The median age in the city was 43 years. 21.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.7% were from 25 to 44; 26.7% were from 45 to 64; and 21.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 45.8% male and 54.2% female.

2000 census

As of the census of 2000, there were 8,357 people, 3,690 households, and 2,166 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,482.2 per square mile (957.5/km²). There were 4,227 housing units at an average density of 1,255.5 per square mile (484.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.02% White, 0.97% African American, 0.92% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 1.06% from other races, and 1.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.15% of the population.

There were 3,690 households out of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.3% were non-families. 36.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.21 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 84.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,089, and the median income for a family was $36,333. Males had a median income of $31,970 versus $22,809 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,215. About 12.9% of families and 16.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.7% of those under age 18 and 8.0% of those age 65 or over.


Just south of Ludington is the Ludington Pumped Storage Power Plant, which generates pumped storage hydroelectricity. In town, there are Whitehall Industries, A Division of SRS Industries LLC (aluminum extrusion and aluminum fabrication), Occidental Petroleum Corporation (manufacturer of calcium chloride products), Great Lakes Castings Corporation, Amptech, Inc., and Carrom Company. The Fitch Four Drive Tractor Company was founded in Ludington.

FloraCraft and Great Lakes Castings are also two big factories in Ludington.


Ludington is home to four radio stations and one newspaper. The original radio station was WKLA, which continues today with a talk radio format at 1450 AM. In the 1970s, WKLA-FM (Adult Contemporary) and WKZC-FM (Country, licensed to nearby Scottville) were added. In 1999, WMOM-FM (Top 40, licensed to Pentwater) signed on the air. The Ludington Daily News has been serving the Ludington area from its location on N. Rath Avenue since the 1880s.[14] The Daily News website records over 4,000 visitors each day.


Ludington's downtown retail is focused on the city's tourism and includes art galleries, antique stores, clothing stores and jewelry stores.



  • Pere Marquette Elementary (Preschool)
  • Franklin Elementary (Grades K-2)
  • Lakeview Elementary (Grades K-2)
  • Foster Elementary (Grades 3-5)
  • Ludington Area Catholic-LAC (Private, Grades K-8)

Junior/Senior high

  • OJ DeJonge Middle School (Grades 6-8)
  • Ludington High School (Grades 9-12, The Orioles)

Notable people


See also


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b Cabot, James L. (2005). Ludington: 1830-1930, p. 7. Arcadia Publishing.
  8. ^ "Focus on our history: How county was named". Ludington Daily News. October 3, 1987. p. 2. Retrieved 30 April 2015. 
  9. ^ "Monthly Weather for Ludington".  
  10. ^ Deborah Brown (June 10, 2010). "Bike routes bring big bucks with summer tourism, local communities on board with proposed bike route". The Saginaw News. Retrieved July 7, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  12. ^  
  13. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  14. ^ Mason County Pictoral History. Ludington, MI: Mason County Historical Society. 1987. p. 277. 
  15. ^ "Aaron Burr Caswell genealogical family history". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  16. ^ "Burr Caswell biography with family history". Retrieved 2008-07-28. 
  17. ^ "Conrad Biography". Lake Michigan Carferry. 2014. Retrieved 2014-09-01. 
  18. ^ a b "The Life of Ludington's Cartier Mansion". 
  19. ^ "Murals of Ludington". Retrieved 3 May 2011. 

External links

  • City of Ludington
  • Ludington Daily News
  • Ludington Mural Society
  • Ludington Area School District
  • SS Badger site - The ferry to Wisconsin
  • Slide show pictures of Ludington, Michigan
  • Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Mason County and Ludington Michigan Area History and Genealogy
  • The Official Ludington and Scottville Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau
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