Leland Historic District (Leland, Michigan)

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Leland Historic District
Leland HD.JPG
Leland Historic District (Leland, Michigan) is located in Michigan
Leland Historic District (Leland, Michigan)
Location Roughly bounded by the park, Main St., Ave. A, and the harbor, Leland, Michigan
Coordinates 45°1′24″N 85°45′40″W / 45.02333°N 85.76111°W / 45.02333; -85.76111Coordinates: 45°1′24″N 85°45′40″W / 45.02333°N 85.76111°W / 45.02333; -85.76111
Area 9 acres (3.6 ha)
Governing body Local
NRHP Reference # 75000951[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 20, 1975
Designated MSHS June 28, 1973[2]

The Leland Historic District, colloquially known as Fishtown, is a historic district roughly bounded by the park, Main Street, Avenue A, and the harbor, in Leland, Michigan. It was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1973[2] and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.[1]


In 1853, Leland pioneer Antoine Manseau constructed a dam across the Carp River at this location.[2] Manseau built a sawmill and docks, setting up Leland as a wooding station for steamers.[3] By 1867, 200 people had settled in Leland. The area also began to develop a fishing fleet, with commercial increasing in importance from the 1870s through the 1890s.[4] More development followed, and in 1886 the county seat was moved to Leland.[5]

In the early 1900s, fishermen began enclosing their oats and adding gasoline engines, which increased the scale of fishing operations.[4] By 1937, two breakwaters were constructed in the waters of Lake Michigan, which also facilitated the rise of the local fishing industry.[2] However, in the 1940s, the whitefish and trout populations in the lake were decimated by sea lampreys. Although commercial fishing operations continued, the area relied more heavily on tourism and charter operations. In the 21st century, the harbor area contains a mix of commercial fishing and tourist operations.[6]


The Leland Historic District, containing both commercial and residential structures, is located at the mouth of the Carp River.[2] It encompasses one of Michigan's most scenic villages; the structures in the district are substantially original, with few alterations. The district includes Leland's commercial area, containing a handful of one- and two-story Gothic Revival brick buildings, and the fishing shanties, smokehouses, and docks in the harbor.[4]


  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Leland Historic District". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Retrieved January 2014. 
  3. ^ "A brief history of Leland...". Leland, MI. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "Fishtown (Leland, Michigan)". Fishtown Preservation. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Welcome to the Leelanau Township Website". Leelenau Township. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Fishtown". Leland. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 

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