St. Helen, Michigan

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St. Helen, Michigan
Census-designated place (CDP) & Unincorporated community
Location of St. Helen, Michigan
Location of St. Helen, Michigan
Coordinates: 44°21′49″N 84°24′37″W / 44.36361°N 84.41028°W / 44.36361; -84.41028Coordinates: 44°21′49″N 84°24′37″W / 44.36361°N 84.41028°W / 44.36361; -84.41028
Country United States
State Michigan
County Roscommon
 • Total 5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2)
 • Land 5.0 sq mi (13.1 km2)
 • Water 0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
Elevation 1,191 ft (363 m)
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 2,668
 • Density 593.6/sq mi (229.2/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code 48656
FIPS code 26-70800[2]
GNIS feature ID 0636665[3]

St. Helen is an unincorporated community in Richfield Township, Roscommon County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes and has no legal status as an incorporated municipality. The population was 2,668 at the 2010 census.[1] The ZIP code is 48656.


In the 1870s, lumber baron Henry Stephens established a large lumber operation at St. Helen,[4] considered at the time to be among the largest and best equipped in the state. The mills were estimated to have produced more than 1 billion board feet (2,000,000 m3) of lumber within a period of fourteen years. Most of the logs were moved by river, but lumber was also moved by rail.

The St. Helen Development Company was organized to sell land and promote development of the area, and over seven years sold 80,000 acres (320 km2) of land and helped to build more than 30 miles (48 km) of roads and over 80 miles (130 km) of fencing.

St. Helen was named after the lake. It is believed that French voyageurs named it after Saint Helena of Constantinople, mother of Emperor Constantine.

The Detroit, Bay City and Alpena Railroad (later the Michigan Central, then the Detroit and Mackinac Railway and presently the Lake State Railway Company) built a line through the area with a station at St. Helen. M-76 passes through St. Helen and portions are still signed as "Old 76". St. Helen has survived based on tourism and proximity to the lake.


  • The area of the CDP covers an area on the southeast side of Lake St. Helen, which is the headwaters for the south branch of the Au Sable River. There is a large boat ramp and park located just east of town to provide easy lake access. Canoeing, kayaking and fishing are popular on the river.
  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.9 square miles (15 km2), of which, 5.0 square miles (13 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (14.86%) is water.
  • Over 90% percent of the township is located in the Houghton Lake State Forest. There are many RV, snow mobile and two-tracks trails. The elevation of the St. Helen's area is 1,190.
  • St. Helen is near part of the Au Sable State Forest including
    • Roscommon FMU (Ogemaw and Roscommon counties).

Major highways[edit]


As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 2,993 people, 1,380 households, and 873 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 593.6 per square mile (229.3/km2). There were 2,617 housing units at an average density of 519.1 per square mile (200.5/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.46% White, 0.07% African American, 0.63% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.77% of the population.The median gross rent in 2011 was 583.00 dollars. A household in the CDP was $24,104, and the median income for a family was $30,268. Males had a median income of $30,521 versus $20,461 for females. The most common occupations in St. Helen are metal and plastic workers, making up 13% of the working class. Carpenters make up 7% of the working class, while mechanics make up 5% of the working class. Sales make up 6% of the working class and construction workers make up 5% of the working class. Lastly, the "other" categories such as farmers and teachers make up the remaining 4% of the working class. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,198. About 12.8% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 32.6% of those under age 18 and 9.1% of those age 65 or over. Neighboring cities include; West Branch, Rose city, Roscommon and Prudenville all exceeding St. Helen's population. St. Helen is one of the largest outdoor motor sport areas in Michigan with over 10 miles of trails in a 2 square mile area.[5]

Other affiliations[edit]


  • Shell Gas Station is located at 2007 N. St. Helen Rd.[7]
  • Louie's Fresh Market is located at 1025 N. St. Helen Rd.[8]
  • Hen House Restaurant is located at 1965 N. St. Helen Rd.[8]
  • Dollar General is located at 1099 N. St. Helen Rd.[8]
  • Rite Aid is located at 2010 N. St. Helen Rd.[9]
  • Marathon Gas Station is located at 1747 Saint Helen Rd.[10]
  • Cedar Inn is located at N St Helen Rd St Helen, MI 48656 [11]
  • Firehouse Bar & Grill located at 465 N. Saint Helen Rd. Saint Helen, MI 48656[12]
  • Classic Cuts is located on Saint Helen Rd.
  • Old Michigan Tobacco Company is located on Saint Helen Rd.
  • Scotteez Apparel is located at 1225 N. St. Helen Rd.[8]
  • VIP Marketing & Publishing is located at 1225 N. St. Helen Rd.[8]
  • Charlton Heston Academy was established in 2012

Local Events[edit]

There are a number of recurrent local events:

  • Bluegill Festival happens each summer. The Bluegill Festival gets its name from the abundance of bluegill in the towns local lake, lake St. Helen. The Bluegill Festival is family friendly. It has something for the whole family. The activities range from kids day all the way to a dog agility contest. Other activities from the festival include carnival games, fishing tournaments, and a parade. Because of the attractions and entertainment, the annual Bluegill Festival brings in a number of tourists from different locations in the surrounding areas and far away. With events like these, they bring in extra revenue for this little town. The Bluegill Festival has been going on for over six decades. The first Bluegill Festival started back in 1949. The Bluegill Festival still goes on today. The Bluegill Festival will go on for many more years to come.
  • Kirtland Warbler Habitat and Festival is to the north, a must for avid bird-watchers.[13]

Famous resident[edit]

  • Charlton Heston spent part of his childhood in St. Helen. The 1930 Census for Richfield, Michigan confirms it.[14][15]

The Charlton Heston academy of St. Helen Michigan is named after the actor Charlton Heston.[16]

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]