Direct: (706) 389-4094
Direct: (706) 389-4094

Owosso, Michigan

Owosso, Michigan

Best Known For:
We are known as the home of James Oliver Curwood and his writing studio, Curwood Castle. Owosso is also the home of the steam locomotive Pere Marquette 1225 - the original "Polar Express."

Year Established: 1859

Population: 15,194

What are the most surprising facts about Owosso?

Owosso has a castle! Owosso is home of the Curwood Castle & the Pere Marquette 1225 steam locomotive, the original Polar Express. We have 5 museums, an art center, and a performing arts theater. Owosso is rich in history, art, & culture. 
Also, the name "Owosso" has a very interesting origin. Native American folklore recalls the Legend of Owosso: A Chppewa Chief adopted into his tribe a fugitive Suak (enemies of the Chippewa) brave, Bukadawin, who became the husband of the Chief's daughter, Princess Natomo. Soon after, a son was born to the young couple. A Chippewa brave, Spotted Snake, one day drew his bow with poisoned arrow and aimed at Bukadawin. Natomo saw this and threw herself upon her husband to save him. She was killed by the arrow. Bukadawin named his son Wasso (aka Owosso), meaning "one bright spot, or bright light: as a sign of the remaining joy of his life.

Does your community have any famous current or former residents?

James Oliver Curwood, conservationist and best-selling author of 33 novels; more than 200 motion pictures were made of Curwood’s books and stories, including The Bear. The tourist attraction and museum now known as Curwood Castle in Owosso was built by Curwood to serve as his writing studio, and Mount Curwood (1978 ft) in Michigan’s upper peninsula was named in his honor.

Frederick Carl Frieseke (April 7, 1874 – August 24, 1939) was an American Impressionist painter who spent most of his life as an expatriate in France. An influential member of the Giverny art colony, his paintings often concentrated on various effects of dappled sunlight. He is especially known for painting female subjects, both indoors and out.

What are the biggest annual events in Owosso?

Glow Owosso (the Friday after Thanksgiving – Nov 25th for 2016) – includes a Glow Parade, 5k Run, & a tree lighting ceremony. The mission of the Glow Events is to promote a warm and inviting atmosphere; to encourage families to gather and socialize and to build a strong community.

Curwood Festival (first full weekend in June) - Three full days of activities for the entire family, with hundreds of volunteers working all year long and dozens of community organizations taking part. The festival commemorates Curwood in particular and Owosso’s heritage in general and provides a weekend of fun, relaxation and homecoming.

Owosso ArtWalk  (second Saturday in September) - an evening of art, shopping, and conversation in Downtown Owosso. Downtown Owosso businesses and local attractions will host local and regional artists showcasing various mediums of art. The streets will be alive with musicians and there will be excitement around every corner.

Downtown Owosso Farmers Market (Saturday mornings, from May through October) - The 2nd largest "all outdoor" farmers market in Michigan, Downtown Owosso Farmer's Market offers an amazing variety of dedicated vendors that bring fresh lake fish, baked goods, meats, eggs, organic foods, fresh homegrown veggies, flowers, ready to eat foods, handmade crafts, soy candles and so much more!

Oktoberfest (second full weekend in October) - The Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce created Oktoberfest in 2014 to celebrate the spirit of friendship and to honor Shiawassee County's heritage and agricultural traditions.

What do you want visitors to discover about your community?

Owosso is a cultural & culinary destination with many museums, art centers, and award winning restaurants, pubs, tearoom, and cafés including:

- Curwood Castle Writing & Conservation Studio             - Lula’s Louisiana Cookhouse
- Comstock Pioneers Cabin                                                  - Foster Coffee Company
- Woodard Paymaster Building                                            - Abiding in the Vine Tea Room
- Amos Gould House                                                              - Lance’s Bakery
Steam Railroading Institute
Shiawassee Arts Center
- Owosso Community Players       

What initiatives is the City of Owosso currently working on?

Celebration of community is alive and well in Owosso. We have seen over 5 millions dollars of private investment within the downtown over the past 2-years. 

Where would you take someone on a first date in Owosso?

It should start with a dinner at one of our award winning restaurants, and then a theater show at the historic Lebowsky Center put on by the Owosso Community Players. The evening would end with a walk along the Shiawassee River near the Shiawassee Arts Center and through Curwood Castle Park.

Is there an something about your community deserving of a nomination for "Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not?"

The tornado that struck Owosso on November 11, 1911 at 11:11 PM was in fact, published in Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not!

Which superhero or superpower would most help you in downtown development efforts?

Superman, and Batman would be a great start! Superman to help with infrastructure improvements and Batman's alter ego, Bruce Wayne, and his fortune to fund culture and the arts!

Want to learn more? Visit the links below

Downtown Owosso - Facebook / Website

City of Owosso - Facebook / Website

Shiawassee County Convention & Visitors Bureau - Facebook / Twitter / Website

Shiawassee Regional Chamber of Commerce

Owosso Historical Commission

Shiawassee Arts Center

Owosso Community Players

Friends of the Shiawassee River

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