Legends of America Photo Prints | Leelanau Peninsula and a Bit of Indiana

Leelanau Peninsula and a Bit of Indiana

September 23, 2014  •  1 Comment

We wrapped up our stay in Michigan at Leelanau Peninsula, just outside of Traverse City near Williamsburg at a beautiful little RV Park called Everflowing Waters Campground.  Loved our stay here, and even though there was no sewer hookups or dump station, we found the owner very helpful and the campground a great place to do our last bit of Michigan before heading home.  

The Leelanau Peninsula is a great stop for history and more along both shore lines (Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Michigan) and you'll want to spend more time here than we had an opportunity too.  After this stop we started home with one more area on our minds before the final push, the Amish and Dutch Country of Indiana.  Here's just some of the final days of our 2014 tour of history in the Upper Midwest. Hover over the images for more information and history, or click a photo to go the the associated gallery. 

Greilickville, MI - West Arm Grand Traverse BayGreilickville, MI - West Arm Grand Traverse BayJust north of Traverse City, and home to the Traverse City Harbor is the un-incorporated community of Greilickville. First established in 1853, it was originally known as Norristown, named after Seth and Albert Norris who established a gristmill here.

Godfrey Greilick built a small water powered sawmill here just a few years later, then a steam powered mill, which would wind up cutting eight and a half million feet of hardwood in 1883. It was one of the most important mills in Grand Traverse Bay until it was destroyed by fire in 1907.

When the railroad entered town in 1892, the station was called "Greilicks" and the surrounding community took the name as well.
Suttons Bay, MI - SeagullsSuttons Bay, MI - SeagullsPhoto by Dave Alexander. Suttons Bay, MI - Sailing ShipSuttons Bay, MI - Sailing ShipArrgh me matey's. In Suttons Bay. Photo by Dave Alexander. Suttons Bay, MI - HarborSuttons Bay, MI - HarborA wooding station provided fuel to steamboats here starting in 1854. Established by Harry Chitenden Sutton, the community that sprang up around the fuel station would first be called Suttonsburg.

Today Suttons Bay is a great stop for tourists into the quaint artsy type towns with plenty of wineries around the area as well.

Railroads Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Northport, MI - Mill PondNorthport, MI - Mill PondThe village of Northport, on Northeastern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, actually came to be out of fear of a smallpox epidemic. In 1848, Reverend George Smith and Native American Ottawa Chief Peter Waukazoo decided to move the Ottawa mission from Southwestern Michigan's Black River, with Smith and his family setting sail by schooner and Waukazoo and his band traveling in canoes to their new settlement called Waukazooville.

In 1854, Deacon Joseph Dame and his son platted land north of the Native American settlement and called the property Northport. Because of its location near the tip of the peninsula and the first into Grand Traverse Bay, Northport grew quickly. Photo of historic Mill Pond by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Northport, MI - Old CabooseNorthport, MI - Old CabooseNorthport thrived on farming, lumber operations, and fishing. It was the first county seat and became a summer mecca for many bigger city families over the years. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Northport, MI - Red Farm Near NorthportNorthport, MI - Red Farm Near NorthportAs you make your way to the lighthouse from Northport, you run into what looks like it could have been an attraction at some point... either that, or a very involved farm.

In the early years, starvation was a constant threat around the peninsula, so planting and growing seasons were hard labor and food preservation a priority. As a community, they would bring heavy blocks of ice across the frozen waters by horse and sled to be cut up and used in meat markets, hotels, fisheries and private homes.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Northport, MI - Water tower Near NorthportNorthport, MI - Water tower Near NorthportPhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Northport, MI - Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial AirportNorthport, MI - Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial AirportThe Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial Airport is a couple of grass landing strips and a tiny fieldstone terminal found a few miles out of Northport on County Road 629 (on your way to the Grand Traverse Lighthouse).

It was built and named after local hero Clinton F. Woolsey, who died in a mid-air collision near Buenos Aires during the first ever U.S. international goodwill flight to 23 Central and South American countries in 1927. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Northport, MI - Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial Airport Terminal.Northport, MI - Clinton F. Woolsey Memorial Airport Terminal.Clinton F. Woolsey was considered one of the nation's best pilots in the Army Corps during the 1920's when he died in a mid-air collision near Buenos Aires. Woolsey had dreams of flying solo across the Atlantic, but never got a chance to see that come true. One of his 1925 flight students would though, as Charles Lindbergh would be the first the same year Woosley died in 1927.

In 1934, his father Byron Woolsey donated 80 acres of land to the Leelanau Township to be used as an airport in honor of his son. The Township threw in another 120 acres, and the Works Progress Administration converted the farm into a long grassy runway, and the onsite creamery/milk transfer station into a terminal. The new airport was dedicated in July of 1935.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse, MIGrand Traverse Lighthouse, MIThe Grand Traverse Lighthouse was first built at a different location in 1852, but was rebuilt here in a more visible location to passing ships in 1858. In 1900 it was converted into a two family dwelling, and continued "manned" operation until 1972 when it was closed and an automatic light tower erected. In 1986 it became part of the Michigan State Park system and was opened to the public.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Leland, MI - Fishtown ShackLeland, MI - Fishtown ShackA big attraction in Leland is "Fishtown", a collection of weathered fishing stanties, smokehouses, charter boats and more along the Leland River, and once the heart of a commercial fishing village.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Leland, MI - Fishtown Shack - EnhancedLeland, MI - Fishtown Shack - EnhancedArtistic touch to the Fishtown shack by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Leland, MI - Fishtown Buoys WaterfallLeland, MI - Fishtown Buoys WaterfallLeland's historic district, Fishtown, still retains its looks and feel from a century ago when commercial fishing was king in the area, with its shanties, fish tugs and docks making up one of the few remaining commercial fishing complexes on the Great Lakes.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Leland - FishtownLeland - FishtownThe Fishtown Preservation Society, made up of Leland community volunteers, worked to buy the property through most of the early 2000's, reaching a deal to purchase it in 2006 from the Carlson family. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Leland, MI - FishtownLeland, MI - FishtownLong before the Carlson family sold the commercial fishing buildings, docks and tugs to the Fishtown Preservation Society in 2007, visitors for decades have enjoyed walking through the shanties and along the docks to see the historic legacy of Leland's maritime culture.

Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Leland - Fishtown Carlson's FisheriesLeland - Fishtown Carlson's FisheriesPhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Leland, MI - Fishtown-3Leland, MI - Fishtown-3Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Leland - Fishtown BusinessLeland - Fishtown BusinessLots of colorful places in the Fishtown District of Leland, Michigan. Glen Arbor, MI - Lost Soles TotemGlen Arbor, MI - Lost Soles TotemGlen Arbor is another favorite for summer tourists. In 1848, John LaRue set up a trading post at Sleeping Bear Bay to trade with Native American's in the area. Wooding stations soon provided fuel to passing steam boats, and as more settlers arrived, the Glen Arbor Township had a population of about 200, sported three docks, fisheries, two hotels, four stores, blacksmith and cooper shop, lumber mill and more.

Outside the local favorite Art's Tavern, someone came up with a quirky way to display lost shoes on the Lost Soles Totem.
Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
Glen Arbor - Lake MichiganGlen Arbor - Lake MichiganPhoto by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Sleeping Bear Dunes, MISleeping Bear Dunes, MIPeople enjoy climbing the sand in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Empire, MI - Sleeping Bear Sand DunesEmpire, MI - Sleeping Bear Sand DunesNow in the center of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the town of Empire was founded in 1851 and incorporated in 1895. It's named after the schooner "Empire" which was icebound in the city during a storm in 1865.

Empires main industry was lumber, with the Empire Lumber Company in operation from 1887 to 1917. The city beach provides some spectacular views of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
Photo by Dave Alexander.

After leaving the Leelanau Peninsula, we began our final push home to Missouri, but wanted to catch a little bit of Indiana sites first.  Clicking on these photos will take you to our Indiana gallery, or you can simply hover over the photos for more information and history. 

Bristol, IN - Bonneyville MillBristol, IN - Bonneyville MillThe Bonneyville Mill site dates back to 1832, but the actual Mill didn't open until 1837 (despite the historic name and date painted on it). Edward Bonney had this two and half story grist mill, sawmill and a rock damn built, then later added a horizontal turbine, which was a rare power source. He sold the mill and it's property in 1842 for $10,000. Bristol, IN - Bonneyville Mill PondBristol, IN - Bonneyville Mill PondThe Bonneyville Mill had numerous owners up until 1898, when Cornelius Daily and his wife Lillie purchased it. Over the next several years the Daily's improved the Mill, including the addition of a dam constructed of limestone and handmade cement. Production increased over 5,000 bushels a year with the quality of the ground buckwheat renown by the "Famous Buckwheat Flour". The Mill would stay in the family until 1962, and then in 1968 it was bought by Elkhart County Chapter of Michiana Watershed, Inc., who presented it to the Elkhart County Park and Recreation Board in 1969. The Bonneyville Mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. Middlebury, IN - Dutch Country Market Flower GardenMiddlebury, IN - Dutch Country Market Flower GardenDutch Country Market Flower Garden near Middlebury, Indiana provided a wonderful taste of color on our journey down the Heritage Trail Scenic Byway . Middlebury, IN - Dutch Country MarketMiddlebury, IN - Dutch Country MarketDutch Country Market near Middlebury, Indiana. Middlebury, IN - FarmMiddlebury, IN - FarmFarm near Middlebury, Indiana was typical of the landscapes we experienced on our drive along the Heritage Trail Scenic Byway. Shipshewana, IN - Amish Horse & Buggy - 3Shipshewana, IN - Amish Horse & Buggy - 3How fitting that we would find a horse and buggy sitting under the Wells Fargo sign. This was in Shipshewana along the Heritage Trail Scenic Byway. Shipshewana is the location of the Menno-Hof Amish and Mennonite Museum, and is a great draw for area tourism with quaint antique and gift shops all within easy walking distance around the small downtown area. Shipshewana, IN - Carriage RideShipshewana, IN - Carriage RideShipshewana is home to the "Plain People (Mennonite and Amish) and is named for a local Potawatomi Indian. The first Amish settlers came here from Pennsylvania in 1844. LaGrange and Elkhart Counties are home to the second largest Amish population in America today. Shipshewana, IN - MuralShipshewana, IN - MuralWe found several colorful murals in town, along with many handcrafted items from the Amish and Mennonites for sale. This one is on the Davis Mercantile, which includes a restored 1906 Carousel. Shipshewana, IN - Amish Buggy - 2Shipshewana, IN - Amish Buggy - 2We just happened to be in town on a Thursday, which is "Saturday" for Amish. Photo by Dave Alexander. Shipshewana, IN - Autumn Display - 2Shipshewana, IN - Autumn Display - 2Shipshewana was in full Autumn swing during our September visit. This town has a lot to see and do, including the Midwest's largest flea market, Branson Style entertainment at the Blue Gate Theatre, Hudson Auto Museum and more. Shipshewana, IN - Autumn DisplayShipshewana, IN - Autumn Display Shipshewana, IN - Antique DisplayShipshewana, IN - Antique Display Shipshewana, IN - Amish BuggyShipshewana, IN - Amish BuggyAmish buggy near Shipshewana, Indiana. Nappanee, IN - Amish Acres Cider MillNappanee, IN - Amish Acres Cider MillWe wrapped up most of our time on the Heritage Trail Scenic Byway in Nappanee where you will find another attraction worthy seeing, Amish Acres. Here you will find nine original buildings, along with some relocated buildings, ice house, cider mill and more. Amish Acres featured guided house and farm tours along with various other entertainment for a quick bit of Amish living history.

Overall, our tour of history in the Upper Midwest was fun and exhausting.  We're back to the brown waters of the Lake of the Ozarks and ready to catch up after being on the road a month.  See all of our travels via previous editions of the Photo Blog and be watching for additional photos coming soon to the Michigan and Indiana photo galleries. 


I always like looking at pictures from my home state. Nice pictures.
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