Lake Leelanau, Michigan
Lake Leelanau is an unincorporated community in Leland Township, Leelanau County, Michigan, near the lake of the same name. It is situated along M-204 at the "narrows" that separate North & South Lake Leelanau.
Native Americans who first inhabited the area called this land "ke-ski-bi-ag," which means "narrow body of water," and called the lake itself "lee-lan-au," which means "delight of life." Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an Indian agent for the territory, was credited with formally naming the county, and was said to use Leelinau as a character in his writing. See Leelanau County for a more complete discussion of the etymology of the name.
Scholars have established that Leelinau was first one of the pen names used by his wife Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, in writings for The Literary Voyager, a family magazine which she and her husband wrote together and circulated among friends in the 1820s. Jane Johnston was of Ojibwa and Scots-Irish descent, and wrote in Ojibwe and English. While her writing was not published formally in her lifetime (except as Schoolcraft appropriated it under his own name), Jane Johnston Schoolcraft has been recognized as "the first Native American literary writer, the first known Indian woman writer, the first known Indian poet, the first known poet to write poems in a Native American language, and the first known American Indian to write out traditional Indian stories." In 2008 Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.
As French settlers began arriving from Canada in the middle of the nineteenth century, the settlement became known as "Le Naro," owing to its location near the narrows. The narrows connect North and South Lake Leelanau. The early settlers called the river and the lake "Carp Lake," a term still used by some locals.
In 1854, a dam was built on the Leland River, near the northwest end of Lake Leelanau, raising the water 12 feet and substantially increasing the size of the lakes.
In 1871, the first post office was established as "Provement", believed to be shortened from "improvement." By 1924, the post office was renamed as Lake Leelanau.
In 1887, a Catholic school was built named St. Mary of the Assumption. The original two-story wooden building later burned down, and a brick building was erected in 1928 next to where the former building had stood.
The village of Lake Leelanau includes its hearty year-round residents; however, as summer comes to the Leelanau Peninsula, vacationers flock to the area to enjoy its scenic beauty, boating, fishing, friendly restaurants, quaint shops and quiet charm along the narrows. This tranquill life was celebrated in a series of essays written by Kathleen Stocking.
In the surrounding area, sightseers can make short trips to Leland, Suttons Bay, Glen Arbor, Northport and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. This areas' soils support several orchards and wineries nearby available for agri-tourism.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Lake Leelanau has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
- Leelanau County website re Lake Leelanau history
- Info Michigan website
- Jeremy Mumford, "Mixed-race identity in a nineteenth-century family: the Schoolcrafts of Sault Ste. Marie, 1824-27", Michigan Historical Review, 22 Mar 1999, pp.3-4, accessed 11 Dec 2008
- Robert Dale Parker, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, accessed 11 Dec 2008
- Real estate agent website re Lake Leelanau
- Fountain Point Resort website
- St. Mary of the Assumption Parish Catholic Church and School website
- Reviews of "Letters from the Leelanau, Essays of People and Place" by Kathleen Stocking
- New York Times book review, January 27, 1991
- List, map of wineries in area
- Leelanau Conservancy
- Climate Summary for Lake Leelanau, Michigan
- Leelanau Calendar
- Leelanau Historical Society website
- Leelanau County website re Lake Leelanau
- Good Harbor Wines
- Dick's Pour House