St. Helen, Michigan

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St. Helen, Michigan
Looking north along North St. Helen Road
Looking north along North St. Helen Road
Location within Roscommon County
Location within Roscommon County
St. Helen is located in Michigan
St. Helen
St. Helen
Location within the state of 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
CountryUnited States
 • Total5.9 sq mi (15.3 km2)
 • Land5.0 sq mi (13.1 km2)
 • Water0.9 sq mi (2.3 km2)
1,191 ft (363 m)
 • Total2,668
 • Density593.6/sq mi (229.2/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s)989
FIPS code26-70800[2]
GNIS feature ID0636665[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 of 2000, there are 2,993 people, 1,380 households, and 873 families residing in the community. The population density is 229.3/km² (593.6/mi²). There are 2,617 housing units at an average density of 200.5/km² (519.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the community is 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. 0.77% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 1,380 households out of which 20.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.3% are married couples living together, 10.4% have a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% are non-families. 32.3% of all households are made up of individuals and 17.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.17 and the average family size is 2.67.

In the community the population is spread out with 20.3% under the age of 18, 4.3% from 18 to 24, 22.9% from 25 to 44, 27.2% from 45 to 64, and 25.3% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 48 years. For every 100 females there are 94.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 88.8 males.

The median income for a household in the community is $24,104, and the median income for a family is $30,268. Males have a median income of $30,521 versus $20,461 for females. The per capita income for the community is $17,198. 19.5% of the population and 12.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 32.6% are under the age of 18 and 9.1% are 65 or older.

Other affiliations[edit]

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.[6]

Famous resident[edit]

  • Charlton Heston spent part of his childhood in St. Helen. The 1930 Census for Richfield, Michigan confirms it.[7][8]

The Charlton Heston academy of St. Helen Michigan is named after the actor Charlton Heston.[9]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: St. Helen, Michigan
  4. ^ Michigan Historical Markers Archived 2010-03-15 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Diocese of Gaylord.
  6. ^ Kirtland Warbler link/festival Archived 2008-01-02 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ My Bay City article, February 5, 2006.
  8. ^ Bay City Times, April 7, 2008.
  9. ^ "Home Page". Charlton Heston Academy. Retrieved 2014-10-28.

External links[edit]