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City of Cadillac
In 1878, Ephraim Shay perfected his Shay locomotive, which was particularly
effective in its ability to climb steep grades, maneuver sharp turns
and manage imperfections in railroad tracks. Cadillac was home to the
Michigan Iron Works Company, which manufactured the Shay locomotive
for a short time in the early 1880s. It was however the lumber industry
that continued to dominate the city, drawing in a large immigrant labor
force, most of whom were Swedish (two of Cadillac's sister cities are
Mölnlycke, Sweden, and Rovaniemi, Finland).
The City Park, featuring the Kris Eggle Memorial Fountain and the Rotary
In 1899, the Cadillac Club formed, the forerunner of the Cadillac Area
Chamber of Commerce. Gradually, various manufacturing firms found success
in Cadillac. By the early 20th century, with the lumber depleted, the
timber industry was in decline. Industrial development soon dominated
the local economy, and it continues to do so today. Cadillac's range
of industries includes the manufacture of pleasure boats, automotive
parts, water-well components, vacuum cleaners, and rubber products.
In 1936, the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps
created the Caberfae Ski Area, which led to promotion of the area as
a tourist center. Caberfae remains in operation today, as the oldest
ski resort in the midwest. Tourism has since become an important sector
of Cadillac's economy. In the summer, tourists travel to the city for
boating, fishing, hiking, mountain biking and camping. During the fall,
hunting and color tours are popular. The winter is possibly the busiest
season; the area can be found packed with downhill skiers, cross-country
skiers, ice-fishers, snow-shoers and–most of all-snowmobilers.
The North American Snowmobile Festival (NASF) is held on frozen Lake
Cadillac every winter.
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