106 107 T he small city of Ithaca,Michigan, named after Ithaca,NewYork, sits right in the geographic center of the state’s Lower Peninsula. Incorporated as a village in 1869, and a city in 1961, it is the county seat of Gratiot County with a cur- rent population of 2,800. Gratiot County was named for Captain Charles Gratiot,who super- vised the building of a fort that also bears his name, Fort Gratiot, erected in 1814 in St. Clair County, to guard the juncture of the Saint Clair River and Lake Huron. Gratiot County was first settled in the early 1800s by New Englanders who were moving west after the completion of the Erie Canal and the close of the Black HawkWar. When they arrived, there was nothing but a virgin forest and wild prairie, so they laid out farms, constructed roads, erected government build- ITHACA, MICHIGAN UP THERE WITH THE BEST ITHACA, MICHIGAN AT A GLANCE ITHACA, MICHIGAN WHAT: A city of 2,800 WHERE: Gratiot County in the geographic center of the state’s Lower Peninsula WEBSITE: www.ithacami.com