Explore the Heritage and History
Explore the Shores
Manistee County, Michigan: Where Life Meets Water
As early as 10,000 years ago, nomadic people were following the bountiful harvests of fish and game the Manistee River provided. By 500 B.C., natives began settling this land, setting up camps and farming.
The lands were controlled by the Algonquin Nation, which utilized the Manistee River as a commercial highway along which fishing, trapping and trading thrived. When European explorers arrived, the Native American tribes here were the stewards of these rich resources.
When the pioneers moved to the Midwest, a reservation was established by the U.S. government, but it was dismantled by the late-1840s and the land was sold off to settlers. In the mid-1990s, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians was recognized as a sovereign nation and the tribe was able to restore portions of their reservation land.
The same natural resources that had been utilized for thousands of years became a draw for developing industry in the mid-19th century. In 1841, the first lumber mill was constructed on the shores of Manistee Lake. Within 45 years, there were 40 sawmills in operation and the City of Manistee boasted more millionaires per capita than
As industry in the area diversified (beginning in 1881 when salt was discovered beneath Manistee), access to a deep water port and railroads became instrumental in the building of a mini-metropolis. The presence of Morton Salt, Packaging Corporation of America, and Martin Marietta Magnesia Specialties—all visible on the shores of Manistee Lake—are tributes to the industrial history of Manistee. Remnants of this era also remain in the city's Victorian architecture. In fact, Manistee boasts so many historical gems that the entire central business district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Interspersed among the wetlands that line the shore of Manistee Lake, industry lives. And so do people. Because of its history, Manistee Lake is in the unique position of trying to balance industry, residential use and wetlands so the amazingly diverse biological communities that call these waters home can continue to thrive.
[Top right image caption reads] Manistee Lumber Company
Erected by Manistee County Alliance for Economic Success.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Environment • Industry & Commerce • Native Americans • Waterways & Vessels. A significant historical year for this entry is 1841.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. U.S.S. Michigan (approx. 0.6 miles away); Furniture Factories (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Maple Street Bridge (approx. 0.7 miles away); The Tunnel (approx. Ύ mile away); The Haley Block (approx. Ύ mile away); The Lyman Building (approx. 0.8 miles away); Pere Marquette Line Steamers (approx. 0.8 miles away); The Thompson Building (approx. 0.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Manistee.
Also see . . .
1. History of Manistee, Michigan. City website entry (Submitted on September 3, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. History of Manistee City (1882). MichGenWeb website entry (Submitted on September 3, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. Arthur Street Boat Launch/Fishing Pier. Visit Mantisee County website entry (Submitted on March 20, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on March 20, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 3, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 226 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on September 3, 2016, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.