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Cadillac Michigan


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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 Pavilion
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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