About This Place
Alpena ( /ælpiːnə/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Alpena County. It is considered to be part of Northern Michigan. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is located in the city. The population was 10,483 at the 2010 census. The population swells with a large number of visitors in the summer.
Despite its small population, it is by far the largest city in the sparsely populated Northeast Michigan (lower peninsula) area, serving as its commercial and cultural hub. It is considered to be one of the two anchor cities of Northern Michigan, along with Traverse City. The Alpena Regional Medical Center is a federally designated rural regional medical referral center, and is the largest employer in the city.
The region, known as the "Sunrise Side" from its location on the east shoreline of Michigan, was first a site of commercial fishing activity and is still home to extensive commercial fishing activities. Later the region, like much of Michigan, was shaped by the logging era of the 1800s. Today, Alpena is known for its limestone quarry, one of the largest in the world, owned and operated by the Lafarge corporation and is a major cement manufacturer and exporter. Alpena is also the world headquarters of Besser Company, a manufacturer of concrete block machines. Tourism (fishing, hunting, camping and a variety of water sports) is also important to Alpena's economy. Alpena is also home to the Alpena Thunder hockey team.