The City of Clare can be found nestled in the south end of Clare County, “The Gateway to the North.” With a little something for everyone, picturesque Clare is one of Michigan’s simple treasures. The area was founded with the development of the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1870 and was incorporated into a city in 1891. Though relatively small in population, the City of Clare is big in spirit.
Visitors and locals alike can be taken back in time with a stroll through our historic downtown. Our charming downtown district offers some mom and pop local flair with cafés and eateries, a brewery, a historic movie theater, a candy shop, the historic Doherty Hotel, an art gallery, and multiple unique shopping opportunities. Clare’s downtown district is also home to the original, world famous Cops & Doughnuts, winner of the Cooking Channel’s Donut Showdown.
Clare boasts a rich and colorful history and is listed in the National Historic Register. Some of our notable history includes ties to the infamous Purple Gang and a 1930s murder at the Doherty Hotel, as well as historical works of art that were developed as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Federal Art Project in the 1930s, some of which can still be found on display in the Clare Middle School auditorium, the local post office, and the Doherty Hotel.
A number of wonderful events and attractions await visitors. Clare is the home to the Clare Irish Festival, one of our most popular events, which proudly displays our community’s history and heritage with an annual week-long celebration and parade. Families from all over the great state of Michigan come to help celebrate our Irish roots. Soon, Clare will also be home to a large recreation complex boasting soccer fields, a bike park, playground, picnic areas, and walking paths. This will be a wonderful spot for families to enjoy the great outdoors and Michigan’s four beautiful seasons.
Our quaint community takes deep pride in our history, and currently the city has undertaken the restoration of the original railroad depot to preserve our “ties” to another era. The Clare Depot will soon be open to the public and home to the Clare Area Chamber of Commerce and the Clare County Arts Council. This location will also serve as a trail head for the Pere Marquette Rail Trail, a paved scenic trail that runs 30 miles through central Michigan from Midland to Clare. An original railroad caboose will serve as a mini-museum for visitors, displaying some original artifacts and photographs of the railway as it once was in years past.
Along with our past, the residents of Clare also take great pride in our community’s future. To promote economic growth in our city, there has been significant development with a new industrial park complex and water tower on the north side of Clare. This complements the expansive growth that has already taken place in our South Industrial Park. The expansion, bringing with it many new businesses, has provided our residents with great job opportunities and has encouraged many others to take up residence in our delightful city.
If you are in search of a charming, family friendly vacation spot or permanent place to call home, the City of Clare is the place for you!