Manistee County was organized in 1840. Its Indian name refers to the
reddish/brown ochre used for ceremonial decoration of the face and body. The
name also has a symbolic meaning, referring to spirit of the wind blowing
through the trees.
The Manistee River, the countyís main geographical feature, was so valued by
the Indians that they drove off the first pioneers in 1830 who attempted to
settle at the riverís mouth at Lake Michigan. Only through the cession of the
land to America in the Treaty of Washington in 1836 was a peaceful agreement
reached which paved the way for settlers.
During the mid 1800's, the area grew from lumber production, and later the
discovery of a rich vein of salt, still being produced today. Also, orchard
growing proved beneficial, with cherries and apples the best growing crops.
Today, tourism has taken a prominent position in the county, with the attraction
of the Manistee River and the pristine Lake Michigan coastline. The River offers
fisherman a veritable supply of Chanook, Coho and Steelhead, along with canoeing
and many scenic landing spots, such as Red Bridge crossing, Sawdust Hole and
Suicide Bend, not to mention Tippy and Hodenphyl Dams.
Other attractions include the Bottle House at Kaleva,
(a home completely made from pop bottles), and shopping at Manistee,
with its Victorian port atmosphere.
Whatever the attraction, a visit to Manistee County is worth the effort. And you
can still hear the wind blowing through the trees.