Named for the Rose family which came to Ogemaw County around 1871, Rose City originated as Churchill and was located one-half mile west of here. During the 1870s Churchill consisted of a post office, a general store, a boardinghouse and settler's homes. William Rose had come from New York State, drawn to the pines and hardwoods available for lumbering, and built a sawmill along Houghton Creek. Rose's son Allan, a Churchill merchant and the first postmaster, formed a lumber company with M.S. French of West Branch. In 1892 he persuaded the Detroit and Mackinac Railroad to build a branch line to serve the area's lumbering operations. The entire Churchill settlement relocated here that year and was platted as Rose City. The community was officially incorporated as a city in 1905.