Historical Tour Map
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If you would like a free copy of the Emmet County Historic Sites tour map mailed to you, just ask! Email [email protected], or call (231) 348-1704.
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Historical Sites tour map locations
1. St. Francis Solanus Mission Church
The St. Francis Solanus Indian Mission Church on W. Lake St. was the first Catholic church in Petoskey, built in 1859 at the request of Bishop Frederick Baraga (the "Snowshoe Priest"). It is the oldest building in Petoskey and some say in Northern Michigan overall. Its restoration was completed in 2008. A Mass is celebrated annually on July 14, and tours are given on selected Sundays in season. It is on the State and National Registries of Historic Places.
500 West Lake St., Petoskey (231) 347-4113
2. Little Traverse Historical Society Museum & Petoskey Clock Tower
The clock faces themselves and the bell – which is a replica of the Liberty Bell – are from the late 1800s, a gift to the city from the Curtis family. The museum is the historic Chicago and West Michigan Railroad Depot (1892).
The museum is located at the waterfront in Petoskey in what was once the Chicago and West Michigan Railroad Depot. Originally built in 1892 to accomodate the large influx of summer resorters, the depot now holds the museum, which serves all of the Little Traverse Bay area.
It is filled with artifacts such as the passenger pigeon display, the area's connection to Ernest Hemingway, faces and places that shaped Emmet County, and a growing research facility with resource material that has been collected over the years.
100 Depot Court, Petoskey (231) 347-2660
3. Petoskey Stone Hunting
Find Michigan’s state stone – fossilized coral from 350 million years ago. It is the fossilized remains of a type of coral that lived about 350 million years ago. Our area was covered with a shallow sea, which favored the growth of the coral. Each cell represents a tube in which a small animal lived, waving its tentacle to secure food. The "eye" is actually the mouth of the animal. When dry the stones are gray, but when wet, the "eyes" magically appear. Petoskey Stones are easily found when wet. The best hunting places are the beaches at Petoskey State Park and Magnus Park in Petoskey.
Petoskey: Magnus Park, 901 West Lake St.,(231) 347-1027; Petoskey State Park, 2475 M-119, (231) 347-2311; county shoreline
4. Bear River Bridge
‘Moderne’ architecture dates back to 1925. The bridge, on the National Register of Historic Places, crosses Mitchell Street, and a recreation area is located underneath off E. Lake St. (across from City Hall), Petoskey.
This is the fourth longest concrete girder bridge in Michigan, with seven spans providing an overall length of 265 feet. It was designed by the Michigan State highway Department, and the Whitney Brothers' Contractors built the structure in 1930. The bridge has several decorative features, including railings and piers. Bear River Valley Recreation Area, is located underneath the Bear River Bridge. This expansive park features steep terrian, unpaved and paved trails, forests, and boardwalks. Activities include biking, walking, hiking, fishing, picnicking with two shelters, restrooms, and nature watching. Entrances to this park are located on West Lake Street, Sheridan Street, and adjacent neighborhoods.
5. Crooked Tree Arts Center
Once a Methodist church, this 1890-building includes two fine art galleries, theater/stage and studios. The Crooked Tree Arts Center is housed in a historic Methodist Church. It has two fine art galleries where exhibits are held all year long, featuring local artists, and traveling exhibits. There is a 260 seat theatre that is used by local performing groups. Center programming offers concerts throughout the year by local artists, as well as, regional and national talent.
461 East Mitchell St., Petoskey (231) 347-3209
6. Stafford’s Perry Hotel
Of 21 hotels in operation in 1900 in Petoskey, the Perry is the only one that remains. It was built in 1899 and expanded over the decades. Like much of the surrounding town of Petoskey, Stafford's Perry Hotel is a Victorian jewel that transports guests back to the gaslight era of the 1890's. The Perry's attention to detail, such as period wallpapers, reproduction furnishings, and luxurious fabrics, transport guests back to the charm of Petoskey's heyday. Inside, a panoramic window overlooks Little Traverse Bay, which offers guests a wealth of recreational activities. The hotel's verandah has wicker chairs and offers the perfect vantage point to view spectacular sunsets over the bay.
100 Lewis St., Petoskey (231) 347-4000
7. Petoskey Historic Gaslight District
A shopping area for more than 100 years, the Petoskey Historic Gaslight District, on the National Register of Historic Places, is bustling with independent shops, boutiques, and galleries. It features great views of Little Traverse Bay, fine dining, and streets lined with historic gaslights.
8. Bay View Association & Historical Museum
The Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church was founded in 1875 by a group of Methodists to be a summer retreat. An educational program of lectures and music began in 1886, and the community developed around these activities. Bay View is known for its Victorian style cottages and peaceful scenery. Two historic inns in Bay View are the Stafford's Bay View Inn and the Terrace Inn Bed and Breakfast. The camp was listed as a National Landmark district in 1987.
Association: U.S. 31 north of downtown Petoskey • Museum: 1715 Encampment Ave., Petoskey (231) 347-6225
Wequetonsing is a beautiful historic community. It is a collection of breathtaking summer homes that originated in 1880.
Beach Drive (off M-119), Harbor Springs
10. Ephraim Shay House/Shay Park
The hexagon shaped Ephraim Shay House is a unique house designed and constructed in 1892 by inventor Ephraim Shay as his home in Harbor Springs. Shay's principal invention, the Shay locomotive, ran on wooden rails over rough terrian, enabling Michigan's logging industry to reach previously inaccessible stands of timber and to expand into a year-round operation. Listed on the National Register, the Hexagon is the last remaining building in a complex that formerly included Shay's machine shop and the waterworks that he constructed for the town of Harbor Springs.
396 E. Main St., Harbor Springs (231) 526-8996
11. Andrew J. Blackbird House
The Andrew J. Blackbird home has a significant place in the history of Harbor Springs. The building was the residence of the Andrew Jackson Blackbird family,as well as, the first post office in the town. The original house was built in approximately 1860 by a local carpenter. Blackbird, son and successor of an Ottawa chief, was the first postmaster of the town and U.S. interpreter for the Mackinac Agency. Blackbird published two books on the Ottawa language and legends, one of the few autobiographical accounts published at that time by a Native American. It is one of the few museums of its type in the area, housing antiques and artifacts from the Ottawa and early European settlers of the region.
368 E. Main St., Harbor Springs Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
12. Harbor Springs History Museum
The building was built in 1886 and was once a center for local government. The grand old building in the heart of Harbor Springs in now a center for local history. The Harbor Springs History Museum not only serves as the new home to the Harbor Springs Area Historical Society, it also features exhibits documenting the unique history of the area. The museum leads the visitors on a journey beginning with the first area residents, the Odawa Indians.The exhibits escort visitors through time stopping to visit with missionaries, homesteaders, loggers, downtown merchants, and resorters.
349 E. Main St., Harbor Springs (231) 526-9771 Open year 'round, see Web site for hours:
13. Tunnel of Trees: M-119, Harbor Springs
This 20-mile stretch of M-119 is known the nation over for its breathtaking vistas of Lake Michigan and thick woodlands. The road runs between Harbor Springs and Cross Village to the north. The drive is famed for its fall color scenery. It is designated a state Scenic Heritage Route, the views along this 27.5 mile drive are among the most stunning outlooks of Lake Michigan in the state. Along the way, some scenic spots to observe are:
Angell Farm: The panoramic views from a 900-foot elevation provide some of the most spectacular views of Lake Michigan and Beaver Island. This site also goes by the name Rolling Ridge Farm.
Seven Mile Point: The area below the bluff, from Rolling Ridge Farm, was known as Seven Mile Point. It is believed that Native Americans and other explorers used this location as a destination and starting point to traverse the Bay to and from Charlevoix's Nine Mile Point. A Native American village She-na-bah-ma-kong, may also have been located in that vicinity.
14. Five Mile Creek Schoolhouse
A one-room schoolhouse dating back to 1880; a local group maintains its grounds since it closed in 1950. The Five Mile Creek Schoolhouse was owned by the local school district from 1880 until 1960. By the 1950's the school was no longer utilized for classes and the local community formed the Five Mile Creek Community Association to promote its upkeep. The school exemplifies the type of historic preservation projects that communities along the "Tunnel of Trees" corridor desire.
M-119, just past Pond Hill Farm
15. Devil’s Elbow
The Devil's Elbow is a hairpin turn on M-119. It is known from the Ottawa (Odawa) Indians as the place "where spirits live". Indian legend states that Devil's Elbow marks the location where the devil scooped out a giant hollow after Native Americans suffered a rampant plague. The original sign explained the eerie history: A Flowing Spring In This Ravine Was Believed By Indian Tribes To Be The Home Of An Evil Spirit Who Haunted The Locality During The Hours of Darkness.
Look for the sign along M-119, Harbor Springs
16. ‘Middle Village’
When the area now known as Good Hart was singled out, it was called Waw-gaw-naw-Ka-see, meaning "crooked tree" in Ottawa. It was also referred to as Opit-awe-ing, meaning halfway, because it was halfway between Harbor Springs and Cross Village. White settlers would call it "Middle Village' and then "Good Hart".The vicinity was the first Jesuit mission of 1741, known as “Aapatawaaing” in the native language.
Look for the sign along M-119.
17. St. Ignatius Church & cemetery
St. Ignatius Church is often first recognized by the towering white steeple peering above the treeline as M-119 enters Good Hart. The first structure in Middle Village was a Jesuit Mission in 1823, but the mission began in this area, once called Aapatawaaing, in 1741. It was rebuilt in 1823 by Native Americans and then built again in 1889 after a fire destroyed it. The church is now open to the public for Sunday mass, weddings, and funeral visitations. The church is adjacent to the Middle Village Cemetery where row and row of white crosses mark the graves of Ottawa (Odawa) Indians. Next to the cemetery is a pathway to Middle Village Beach, a popular spot for swimming.A picturesque 1886 church (open to the public) with Jesuit and Native American roots; near Readmond Township park and beach.
South Lamkin Drive, just past the Good Hart General Store
18. Council Tree
The Council Tree is a mature white pine located in close proximity to the road in Readmond Township, it is approximately 4 miles north of Good Hart. The Council Tree is where famous tribal councils were held. One of the most legendary involved a meeting between Menominee, Chippewa, and Ottawa tribes after the fight at near-by Fort Michilimackinac in July of 1763. The purpose of that gathering was to discuss further movement against the British.
Look for the sign along M-119 near Cross Village
19. L’Arbre Croche: M-119 to Cross Village
The area of land following the winding bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan between Harbor Springs and Cross Village has been called by many names throughout the years. Originally Native Americans knew it as L'Arbor Croche, meaning "crooked tree." The name derived from an enormous tree with a crooked top reported to be just west of the foot of the hill on Lamkin Drive in Good Hart. The tree was used as a landmark to those traveling by canoe in the area. Indian camps were first established all along Lake Michigan shoreline at various points including Cross Village, Middle Village (Good Hart), Seven Mile Point, and Harbor Springs.
Look for the crooked trees throughout the region.
20. Cross Village Heritage Center
The building, constructed in 1855, served as a school founded by Father John Wycamp. It originally stood near Holy Cross Church, a few blocks away from its current site. A table and student benches from the building's earliest years remain intact. The historical society will showcase artifacts from its collection at the heritage center, including quillwork, beadwork, and baskets crafted by area residents.
5971 Wadsworth St., Cross Village (231) 526-6264 Call for hours
21. Museum of L’Arbre Croche/Holy Cross Church
The museum, founded in 1993, displays the background of the area located between Middle Village and Cross Village. The original name of the area was L'Arbre Croche, which meant "crooked tree". Hundreds of settlements were discovered in the area by early missionaries. The museum has the Odawa Room which contains stone and wooden tools used by early man and artifacts by Native American tribes. The Weikamp Room features the life and times of Father Weikamp. The L'Arbre Croche Room contains photos of local Native Americans, a mixture of implements and religious artifacts. The Baraga Room features Bishop Frederick Baraga's writings and records of the Cross Village area. Finally, the Main Hall features area families, logging, and the making of maple syrup, all in album form.
6624 N. Lakeshore Dr., Cross Village (231) 526-0906 Call for hours
22. Skillagalee Island Lighthouse
Ile aux Galets or Gallets, and also known as Skillagallee or Skillagalee Island, is located in northeast Lake Michigan approximately 7.0 miles northwest of Cross Village. The lighthouse sits atop a dangerous gravel shoal- it extends almost two miles to the east and half a mile to the northwest- a hazard to navigation, ships, and sailors. This site has been the continuous operating home of a U.S. government lighthouse since 1850. The islet and lighthouse were occupied by lighthouse keepers from 1850 until 1969, when the Fresnel lens was retired. At the time, a Coast Guard crew razed all the structures, leaving only the tower in the middle of the island. The light is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is accessible by boat.
7 miles NW of Cross Village
23. Gray’s Reef Light Station
This massive, two-story concrete based light station, is located twenty-three miles southwest of the Straits of Mackinac. The white square two-story dwelling is encased in steel. The steel 65-foot tower rises from the center of the building and has a black parapet and lantern. The lantern has diagonal-barred windows and houses a modern 190mm plastic lens that replaced the original lens. The light marks a reef that is a serious navigational hazard. The light was built in 1936 to replace the last in a series of lightships that has been anchored in the area for 45 years. Gray's Reef was automated in 1976, and is an active aid to navigation. Today the station is not manned, except for once each summer when the Coast Guard uses it to monitor the vessels participating in the Chicage to Mackinac Yacht Race.
4 miles west of Waugoshance Island in Lake Michigan
24. Waugoshance Shoal Light
Waugoshance Shoal Light was built in 1851 to replace a wooden lightship that had served since 1832, to mark a dangerous shallow area of northern Lake Michigan in the approach to the Straits of Mackinac. The station sits on a wooden crib that was sunk and filled with stone. The crib structure was the first major crib built for a lighthouse on the Great Lakes. The crib was rebuilt with massive limestone blocks in 1867-70. It was abandoned in 1912 and replaced by White Shoal and Gray's Reef Lights. The structure was used for artillery practice during World War II, it is amazing that anything remains. This long abandoned light is only viewable by boat.
Visible from Waugoshance point/island to the northwest.
25. White Shoal Light
White Shoal Light is located in northern Lake Michigan. This 121-foot light marks a hazardous area in this part of Lake Michigan. The light was built in 1910 to replace Lightship No. 56 that had marked the shoal since 1891. The station is built on a concrete base with a small octagonal building. Construction of the light was considered a major engineering feat because of its isolated location. The station contains a fog signal and keeper's quarters. The quarters were used until 1976 when the light was automated. A distinctive red and white spiral candy cane painted tower with a red parapet is nearly the same size as the lower building. The light is the only red/white barber pole striped station in the United States. This light is limited to boat travel.
2.6 miles N.W. of Waugoshance Island, Lake Michigan
26. Cecil Bay
This former bustling lumbering community today provides an 800-acre park on 2.5 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline owned by Emmet County. Cecil Bay Village was located on the Straits of Mackinac six miles southwest of Mackinaw City. The economy of the settlement of some 200 persons was based entirely on lumber. Initially, in 1878, the cutting of standing pine, hemlock timber, and the production of lumber, was the principal endeavor. By 1907 the pine was finished.
However, in 1898 work was expanded to include the making of shingles, barrel staves, pulpwood, and railroad ties. In December 1917, the Emmet Lumber Company ceased operation. Cecil Bay's 800 acres of woodland, beachfront, and Carp River frontage to Lake Michigan's frontage, is owned by Emmet County. Significantly, Cecil Bay is one of the only few Great Lakes wetlands, and possibly the only remaing waterfront wetland site on Lake Michigan. The property boasts a boardwalk, a mile-long beach, a spacious pavilion with grills, and access the nearby North Country Trail.
Cecil Bay Rd/Wilderness Park Dr., Mackinaw City
27. The Headlands
Now an International Dark Sky Park, this property is home to old-growth forests & miles of undeveloped shoreline and trails for wilderness adventures. Chicago industrialist Roger McCormick established the Headlands in the late 1950s.
It remained in his hands until his death in 1968, when the property was assumed by the McCormick Foundation and eventually obtained by Emmet County. The Headlands recreation area comprises more than 600 forested acres, four miles of trails, two miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, and was designated as an International Dark Sky Park in May 2011 — one of 6 in the U.S. and 9 in the world.
Geographic landmarks like St. Helena Island and the Upper Peninsula are visible from the shore, while several shipwrecks rest beneath the waters. The land supports numerous deciduous and conifer species, along with fruit trees, black walnut trees and more than 20 varieties of wildflowers and plants. Piping plovers, bald eagles, osprey, and terns live at the Headlands, which is also in the north/south migratory pattern for many bird species, particularly raptors. Wild turkeys, deer, coyotes, and an occasional bear can also be seen. The Headlands is an ideal day-trip, with miles of marked trails criss-crossing the acreage.
15675 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City, MI (231) 436-4051
28. Mackinaw Heritage Village
The Mackinaw Heritage Village's period is from 1880 through 1917, a period of unparalleled changes in lighting, transportation, communication, housing, disease, and nearly every other aspect of the Straits area living. It also reflects an era from which some are still living, a precious few buildings are still standing, and stories told by parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents abound.
Structures currently include an 1880's, one-room school from the community of Freedom; a Mackinaw City pest (pestilence) house from the same era; the sawmill that cut logs for the locks at Sault Ste. Marie right after the turn of the century; an 1890's Mennonite hewn log farmhouse; a tar paper work shack; a vintage baseball field; an artifacts building;and community gardens.
Entrance off W. Central Ave., Mackinaw City Saturday-Monday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
29. ‘Chi-sin’ (The Big Rock)
Observed since at least 1615 as an aid to navigation, chi-sin has been used to gauge the water levels of the Straits of Mackinac. The rock has also been featured in the Boston Globe and Detroit Free Press.
Hundreds of years ago, the Big Rock was under water in the Straits. Through the centuries, it has been used as a marker to determine the rise and fall of water levels in Lake Michigan. It was described in a letter sent back to France in 1749 as being at times, high and dry, and at other times, completely submerged. That led the letter-writer to conclude that the Straits of Mackinac rose and fell by as much as 8 feet. The 'Chi-sin' is approximately 33.8 feet in horizontal circumfernce and 37 feet in vertical circumference. It is about 9 feet tall. An estimate weight puts it around 54 tons.
Headlands Drive, at the shoreline of McGulpin Point Lighthouse
30. McGulpin Point Lighthouse
In its inaugural season in 2009, thousands of area residents and visitors from across the country came to Emmet County to view the newest piece in the parks' collection. Originally the site of an Odawa village, McGulpin Point was established in 1869 and served as a crucial beacon on the Straits of Mackinac as it guided vessels through the shoal-filled waters. By 1906, the McGulpin Point Lighthouse had reverted to private ownership until its purchase and historic restoration, by Emmet County, beginning in 2008.
Free admission. Gift shop, docents.
500 Headlands Road, Mackinaw City
Call for Hours: (231) 348-1704
31. Colonial Fort Michilimackinac
Fort Michilimackinac was originally built by the French in 1714-1715 to control the fur trade and European development of the upper Great Lakes. Michilimackinac was more of a fortified community than a military outpost. The colonial community was located both inside and outside the walls and the walls were expanded several times during the French and British occupation of the area. There was an Odawa (Ottawa) community along the shore when Fort Michilimackinac was built, but the Odawas moved 20 miles west to L'Arbre Croche in 1741 when their corn fields were no longer fertile.
North I-75 underpass, Mackinaw City (231) 436-4226
Call for hours or visit online: www.mackinacparks.com
Note: There is an admission charge.
32. Mackinac Bridge and historical pathway
The Mackinac Bridge is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The total length of the Mackinac Bridge is 26,372 feet. The height of the roadway at mid-span is approximately 200 feet above water level. All suspension bridges are designed to move to accomodate wind, change in temperature, and weight. It is possible that the deck at center span could move as much as 35 feet (east or west) due to high winds. The deck would not swing or "sway" but rather move slowly in one direction based on the force and direction of the wind. After the wind subsides, the weight of the vehicles crossing would slowly move it back into center position.
North I-75, Mackinaw City; pathway begins under the bridge
33. Pellston Area Historical Museum Depot
Learn how Pellston earned the nickname ‘The Icebox of the Nation’ and more about this tiny town’s past that include booming lumber industry. The Pellston Area Historical Museum is filled with logging artifacts and emphasizes the area's local connection to the logging industry.
U.S. 31, downtown Pellston (231) 539-8264
34. Inland Water Route Historical Museum
Dedicated to maintaining and preserving the history of the Inland Waterway that connects the Crooked Lake to Lake Huron. There are displays which include photos and artifacts on each community along the entire water route. They also have special focus displays on logging, railroad use , and lodging as it pertained to the early settlement years of the water route.
6217 River Street, Alanson (231) 838-5309
Call for hours
35. Alanson Swing Bridge
‘The shortest swing bridge in the world’ is a single-lane bridge used for pedestrians, snowmobiles and autos that was originally built in 1902 (the current bridge is a near-replica). The original bridge built in 1902 was operated by a manual pinion on a rack. Today, the rebuilt bridge (almost a replica) is operated by hydraulics and still uses a rack and pinion gear system. The approximate height clearance is 4 feet. If you need to have the bridge opened, sound your horn three times, and wait. Passage for boaters is one way.
River Street, Alanson
36. Oden State Fish Hatchery
The original Oden State Fish Hatchery was established in 1921 and continued to operate until 2002. The new Oden State Fish Hatchery complex was completed in 2002 and is one of the most advanced fish culture facilities of its kind, This facility is the brown and rainbow trout broodstock station and is a major rearing facility for those two species. The facility has production buildings for rearing and broodstock, outdoor rearing facilities, and a state of the art effluent treatment system. The old hatchery has been transformed into a Great Lakes watershed interpretation area, featuring the Michigan Fisheries Visitor Center that includes a replica of a fish transportation railcar.
3371 U.S. 31, Oden (231) 347-4689 Daily, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
37. Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga
Originally constructed as a boys’ camp in the 1930s, today it is a popular campground and beach. History museum on-site. Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga is one of the most popular and family favorite waterside parks and campgrounds in Emmet County. The park was originally constructed in the 1930s as a boys' camp. Today, Emmet County maintains its 300 acres that provide year-round recreation to visitors. Nature trails, a swimming beach on Pickerel Lake and trout fishing are among the offerings for day and overnight guests. Facilities include 90 campsites with electricity and water, modern restrooms and showers, four-season rental cabins, playground equipment, and open field game areas. There is also a recreational hall/multi-use building for rent.
11000 Camp Petosega Rd., Petoskey (231) 347-6536