Michigan is known for its many lighthouses, with over 120 lighthouses located along its Great Lakes shoreline. Many of these lighthouses are still in operation today and are popular tourist destinations.
Manistee County, located in the northwestern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, has a rich history dating back thousands of years. The region was once inhabited by indigenous tribes, including the Anishinaabe and Ottawa peoples, who lived off the land and utilized the resources of the area. European exploration of the area began in the 17th century when French fur traders established trading posts along the Great Lakes, bringing significant changes to the region.

In the early 19th century, as more settlers arrived in the area, the Manistee River became a central transportation route for the timber industry. Timber barons recognized the vast resources of white pine forests and established sawmills along the river, turning Manistee into one of the major lumbering centers in the state. The growth of the logging industry led to the rapid development of Manistee, with the city being incorporated in 1869.

With the decline of the timber industry towards the end of the 19th century, Manistee experienced a period of economic decline. However, the discovery of oil in the area in the early 20th century led to renewed prosperity. Oil wells dotted the landscape, attracting new residents and businesses to the county.

Today, Manistee County is known for its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. The county is home to the Manistee National Forest, which offers excellent hiking, camping, and fishing opportunities. The historical legacy of the timber industry can still be seen in the county, with preserved lumber era buildings and museums. Manistee continues to be a popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors to its picturesque beaches, charming downtown, and vibrant arts and culture scene.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Manistee County, Michigan.

  • 1836 - Manistee County was established by an act of the Michigan Legislature.
  • 1840 - The first permanent settlement, called "Me-she-nah-ma-gong" by the Native Americans, was made.
  • 1853 - Manistee was incorporated as a village.
  • 1869 - Manistee became a city.
  • 1870 - The first railroad, the Manistee and North Eastern, was completed.
  • 1871 - The first newspaper, the Manistee Times, was published.
  • 1882 - The Manistee National Forest was established.
  • 1891 - The Ramsdell Theatre was built, becoming one of Michigan's oldest and most active theater venues.
  • 1955 - The Michigan decoration plant, which produced ammunition during World War II, was dismantled.
  • 1963 - The Manistee National Forest was combined with the Huron National Forest to form the Manistee National Forest.