Grayling ( GRAY-LEENG) is the only city and county seat of Crawford County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,884 at the 2010 census. The city is surrounded by Grayling Charter Township, but the two are administered autonomously. The city is located in the middle of the Northern Michigan region at the junctions of Interstate 75, U.S. Route 127, M-72, and M-93. Grayling is well known for hosting the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon in July of every year since 1947. The city is named after the Grayling species of fish once abundant in the Au Sable River, although the species has long since been extinct in the area.  There have been many attempts to bring Grayling back to the area but none have been successful.
Michael Shoat Hartwick was Grayling’s first settler. On the west side of the railroad tracks, he built a log hotel. The railroad platted out 40 acres (where Grayling now stands), naming it “Crawford”. Fish swimming in the river were identified as grayling, and it is said that the residents preferred the name “Grayling” to the name “Crawford,” and renamed the area after the fish.Grayling’s access to two major rivers (Au Sable River and Manistee River), and the presence of the vast forest around it, made it important in the lumber era. Logs were floated down the rivers to the lakes.Grayling had other names through the years. It was called “AuSable”, “Forest”, “Crawford Station”, and during the lumbering era “Milltown”.
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