Like other parts of the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, the Oscoda-AuSable area attracted the early French explorers because of the abundance of game and other natural resources. The AuSable River was named by the French and means "River of Sand". Louis Chevalier was the first to establish a claim in the area, building a trading post about a half mile upstream from the mouth. Soon a small community of fishermen, hunters and trappers lived near the mouth of the river. The twin communities of Oscoda and AuSable grew by leaps and bounds when the logging era began. The river served as an avenue to transport logs from inland to the mouth where as many as eight lumber mills operated, some sawing day and night. From expansive docks on Lake Huron, great ships carried the timber to markets in Detroit and Chicago. Fine houses were built by wealthy lumber barons; schools and churches were constructed as the twin communities prospered.
The trees mostly had been cut and the lumbering era already was drawing to a close when in 1911 the twin communities were completely destroyed by fire. Only the school and two churches on "Piety Hill" remained standing. Homes and some businesses were soon rebuilt, but the mills and the docks were gone forever. A bronze statue commemorating the men of the logging era - timberman, sawyer and cruiser - was erected along the banks of the AuSable. Now protected from the ax and the saw the area is more beautiful than ever and is here for your enjoyment.