Originally named Aishcum for a Potawatomi Chief the name of the
county was changed to Lake in 1843.The vast pine forests brought the first
pioneers. Between 1870 and 1890 the forests were lumbered. Logs were sent down
the Pine, Little Manistee, and Pere Marquette Rivers to Manistee and Ludington,
the rest were cut in one of Lake's 25 sawmills.
With the end of the lumber industry the population looked toward agriculture and
tourism. Only a small portion of land was cultivated. European Brown Trout were
planted in the Pere Marquette River in 1884 by 1912 the county was regarded as
having some of the finest trout streams in Northern Michigan. The Pere Marquette
River has been designated a national scenic waterway and is enjoyed by fisherman
and canoeists alike.
The resort community of Idlewild was the answer of a group of African/Americans
to the segregated white resort communities during the depression and World War
Two. It declined during the 1960's as the civil rights movement gained momentum.
Idlewild is now on the National Register of Historic Places.