Have you ever wondered what Michigan's smallest city by population is? If you believe a road sign's claim, then the answer is Omer located in Arenac County near Saginaw Bay. On U.S. 23, there is a welcome sign for Omer that has a sign below that says "Michigans Smallest City" (the sign is glaringly missing an apostrophe, and I'm having anxiety). Anyways, it turns out that not only is the missing apostrophe a mistake, but the entire claim is not true. At least not anymore.

According to the 2010 census, the population of Omer is a cozy 313 people. But Lake Angelus in northern Oakland County in southeastern Michigan recorded 23 less residents in that same census and is actually the smallest incorporated city in Michigan at 290 residents.

Lake Angelus (Credit: OmidGul, Creative Commons)
Lake Angelus (Credit: OmidGul, Creative Commons)

My first guess was that Omer was the smallest city in the previous census. But you actually have to go back to the 1970 census to discover the last time Omer was Michigan's smallest city. So either the little city has been sporting the claim incorrectly since 1980 or the sign (with missing punctuation) was put up at some point after that and Omer just decided they were the smallest city in the state regardless of what census data said. Lake Angelus doesn't seem to be putting up much of a complaint in the matter anyways.

But it's not like Omer doesn't have another claim to fame. Do you remember the "cussing canoeist"? In 1998, a man fell into a river there and began yelling profanities while unknowingly violating a law from 1897 regarding swearing in front of women and children. The story that made international news and led to ACLU intervention as the case went to the Michigan Appeals Court and the law was struck down.


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